2023 Priorities: AdC strengthens investigation capability in the context of the digital economy
Press Release 35/2022
December 28, 2022
The Portuguese Competition Authority (AdC) publishes today, in its website, the Competition Policy Priorities for the year 2023, which include the strengthening of the investigation capability in the context of the digital economy, recognizing that the digitalization of the economy is an irreversible phenomenon and an ongoing process that has been accentuated in the last decade, having been intensified by the pandemic crisis.
In 2023, AdC's main priority remains to defend the Portuguese economy from anti-competitive abuses and practices with a more substantial impact on households and businesses, namely cartels and other illegal practices between competitors. Cartels constitute the most serious practice for competition, with harmful effects for consumers.
On this occasion, the President of the AdC, Margarida Matos Rosa states that "the AdC will contribute to an inclusive and sustainable economic growth, through efforts to include the competition dimension in the spectrum of public policies, namely those of economic recovery and reinforcement of the purchasing power in times of inflation”.
It is in this context that the AdC will continue to give priority to the disclosure and dissemination of its recommendations, which cover various sectors of the economy, with a view to their implementation, including the recommendation of measures to eliminate barriers created either by legislation or by anti-competitive practices of incumbent companies.
After the entry into force of Law 17/2022, of 17 August, which transposes the ECN+ Directive, the AdC saw its powers of action reinforced, and it is expected that this will result in an increased capacity to detect, investigate and sanction anti-competitive practices, either ex officio, or via leniency applications - which in 2022 reached a record amount in Portugal -, or via complaints from third parties, consumers or other market agents, taking advantage of the new protection regime for whistleblowers implemented by the AdC.
In 2023, and in line with its recent activity, which includes the preparation of a Final Report and a Guide of Good Practices on anticompetitive agreements in the labor market (2021) , as well as the first sanctioning decision in the labor market, namely for no-poach (2022) , the AdC will intensify its contribution to the promotion of an open and competitive labor market, keeping a particular eye on horizontal no-poach agreements and wage-fixing agreements, which may arise in any sector of activity. The AdC will also continue to provide presentation sessions of the Good Practices Guide on anti-competitive agreements in the labor market to relevant stakeholders.
With regard to the control of mergers, the AdC's priority remains to continue to be increasingly swift and effective in its actions, thus contributing to the efficiency of market dynamics. As in recent years, the AdC will continue to focus on the investigation of possible concentration operations not notified or implemented before approval by the AdC (gun-jumping). The AdC will also promote the Good Practices Guide to enable companies to avoid gun-jumping situations (2022).
In 2023, the competition policy priorities are, in summary
- Detect, investigate and sanction anti-competitive abuses or behaviors with a more substantial impact on households and businesses, notably cartels and other illicit practices among competitors;
- Pursue the investigation of evidence of abuse and collusion in the digital environment, through the actions of the AdC's digital team, in close cooperation with other European authorities;
- Contribute to the economic growth of the Portuguese economy, reinforcing efforts to include the competition dimension in the spectrum of public policies;
- Intensify the contribution to the promotion of an open and competitive labor market, in which employers adopt an independent and competitive conduct, contributing to more opportunities for workers and innovation;
- Consolidate internal procedures of checks and balances, ensuring a legally and economically robust performance;
- Intensify initiatives to disseminate and communicate the benefits of competition to the AdC's stakeholders;
- Contribute, through an effective competition policy, to the ability of Portuguese companies to compete for merit in global value chains.
According to the AdC Bylaws, the authority must establish and publicize its annual priorities without any sectorial reference within the scope of its sanctioning powers.