The new instruments for safeguarding a proper competition environment, as set up by Government Ordinance 75/2010, were discussed during Mediafax Talks about Competition Law, a debate which gathered representatives of Competition Council, legal market and professional associations from the private sector.
„I consider that the revision of the secondary legislation is even more important as it details the provisions of the Competition Law and the approach of Competition Council towards specific economic contexts and practices or agreements between private companies generated by such economic motivations. Seven years have passed since the last revision of the competition rules in Romania. During this time, the business reality has changed, and so have the transactions, one good example being the M&A transactions. Therefore, some parts of the previous secondary legislation became to some extent inapplicable and therefore difficult to be enforced in practice”, says Anca Buta Musat, Partner with Musat & Asociatii and the Head of the firm’s Competition Department.
Among the suggestions proposed for a better understanding of the anticompetitive deeds that should be avoided by companies, Anca Buta Musat highlighted the importance of drafting official standpoints of view and guidance letters by the Competition Council, in order to increase its decisional transparency. “For example, the elimination of the individual exemptions and of the exhaustive forms to be filled in cases of franchises, transfer of technology, cooperation or distribution agreements when block exemptions do not apply, leads to the introduction of the self assessment obligation: companies now need to be aware and assess by themselves these contracts and their effects, in line with European Commission’s practice. “At least in the upcoming months it would be of a real help to the entire business community if the Competition Council would release guidance letters in order to express its point of view in respect of such particular situations as mentioned before, and to have them published on its website. Transparency is important so as not to provide a competitive advantage for the beneficiaries of such points of view rendered by the Competition Council and to avoid discriminating between companies facing the same situations, but which are not aware of the recommendations made by the Competition Council in these points of views or guidance letters.”
Bogdan Chiritoiu, Chairman of Romania’s Competition Council, emphasized at the event that the amendments of the Competition Law are aimed both at correlating the local Legislation with the regulations of the European Commission in the field of Competition and also at readjusting the institution and its practice in order to increase the predictability of its decisions, initiative which was considered salutary by the private sector. “Although our positions may seem to be contradictory, in my capacity of legal representative, I can say that companies first want legal certainty, they do not intend to circumvent the law or to defend themselves at a later stage before the Competition Council’s plenary. The legal certainty and compliance with the law cannot be achieved without non-discriminatory, transparent and consistent practice of the Council”, underlines Anca Buta Musat.
Muşat & Asociaţii’s long-standing competition expertise includes numerous high-profile projects such as the antitrust clearance of the EUR 850 million acquisition of the Electrica Muntenia Sud by Enel, the restructuring of the EUR 1 billion debt of Termoelectrica SA or the full merger control and clearance proceedings triggered by the recent EUR 10,000,000 acquisition of Bere Azuga by SABMiller. Among her clients she counts numerous high profile corporations such as Eli Lilly, GSK, Hoffman La Roche, Novartis, Lundbeck, General Electric, PPF Partners, KBC Bank, SBS Broadcasting, Jones Apparel, Visa International Service Association, Intel, just to name a few.
Anca Buta Muşat is renowned for her top-notch and solid expertise in competition/antitrust matters, being the sole Romanian lawyer winning an international award at the prestigious International Law Office (ILO) Client Choice Awards 2010. Her expertise in competition matters is also recognized by the prestigious British guides of the legal profession, Chambers & Partners and PLC Which Lawyer?, which recommend her among the country’s top experts in this practice. She has an extensive experience in competition, representing major corporations before both the European Commission and Competition Council, during dawn raids, investigation proceedings and hearings before the Competition authority. Furthermore, she provides legal assistance in all aspects related to state aid schemes, public services contracts, anti competitive practice or/and dominant positions.