ERT Expert Paper – Information exchange in dual distribution
We encourage the Commission to take into account the observations mentioned in this paper when finalising the Draft Guidance.
The Competition Policy Working Group of ERT highly appreciates the European Commission’s decision to revise its guidance for information exchange in a dual distribution context, which is intended to be added to the Vertical Guidelines (hereinafter “Draft Guidance”).
We have contributed with an Expert Paper to the previous consultation in the framework of the revision of the Vertical Guidelines (March 2021) and would like to emphasise certain points whilst reacting to new elements in the Draft Guidance.
We appreciate that the Draft Guidance is a step into the right direction but think that further clarifications are needed to harvest the full procompetitive potential of dual distribution setups. It cannot be stressed enough that dual distribution is genuinely vertical and pro-competitive. In addition to distributors, wholesalers and retailers, the manufacturer itself engages in selling its products to customers and consumers. In the end, products become more widely and easily available to customers and consumers.
We urge the Commission to further explain its theory of harm clarifying why it is concerned about dual distribution and why stricter rules on information exchanges between a manufacturer and its distributors/retailers should apply.