The Competition Commission receives support from the Council of States

In a surprising turn of events, the Council of States has decided not to impose stricter restrictions on competition watchdogs in their fight against cartels. The decision was made during the debate about the revision of the antitrust law, which is considered the “heart of the Swiss market economy.” Despite discontent in business circles, the Competition Commission will continue to combat hard cartel agreements, which generally involve agreements between competitors on prices, quantities, and territories without the need to prove specific damage in each case.

Critics of the current antitrust rules argue that the Competition Commission should provide qualitative and quantitative explanations of the harmfulness of cartel agreements in each case. They point to instances where fines were imposed based on insufficient evidence, such as in the sanitary wholesale trade sector. However, opponents of changing the rules argue that this could make it harder to combat cartels and lead to lengthy legal proceedings.

Despite these arguments for stricter regulations, the Council of States narrowly rejected the proposed changes and decided to maintain the current system. They also voted against requiring a statement of harmfulness in cases of abuses by market-dominating companies. However, they did vote in favor of relaxing the antitrust law to allow agreements on wage caps in professional sports leagues.

This relaxation would primarily apply to ice hockey and professional football clubs, allowing them to implement wage caps to curb increasing salaries and reduce financial losses. The proposal was supported by a majority of ice hockey clubs but faced opposition from some members of the Council of States who argued that it was biased towards sports leagues and did not represent all sectors.

The antitrust dossier will now be passed on to

By Sophia Gonzalez

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