– Most alarming – E24

– Most alarming – E24

Grocery players are highly critical of the government’s proposal to give the competition authority more power. Almost only the Norwegian Competition Authority is in favor.

An unusual proposal: Industry Minister Jan Christian Pfister has already withdrawn one grocery offer, after objections. The market investigation tool proposal also faces strong opposition.
published: published:

“The proposal is extreme, deeply troubling and unnecessary.”

This is what Freya wrote in her advisory response to Industry Minister Jan Christian Vestre’s proposal to give the competition authority a so-called market investigation tool.

Other actors are equally important:

  • “The basis of what you have to say is both flawed and biased.” (Bar)
  • “The proposal is highly infringing and will increase the risks of grocery production in Norway.” (Hennig Olsen Ice Cream)
  • “The basic aspects, as well as the unwanted effects, have been surprisingly poorly investigated.” (It seems)

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current grocery industry

The Market Investigation Tool will give the Norwegian Competition Authority the opportunity to intervene in markets where it sees problems with competition, but no breach of competition law can be proven.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry acknowledges that current measures are not always sufficient.

Bigger muscles: If the tool were introduced, competition manager Tina Soreid would be able to intervene in the markets without having to show any violations of the law. The initiative came from the supervisory authority itself.

– This can be used in all industries. The grocery industry is a relevant example, because we know there’s too much concentration of power and too few players, Pfister told E24 this spring.

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Thus, the market research tool is one of the measures of the Minister of Business and Industry in the ten-point plan with measures to improve competition in the grocery industry.

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It has nothing to do with doing nothing

The deadline for the consultation expired two weeks ago. More than 20 responses have been received.

E24 has gone through them all. Almost only the Norwegian Competition Authority has been consistently positive about the proposal.

There are four objections that recur among responses to the counseling.

That suggestion is too much invasiveThis is it Poorly investigatedwhich you will create absence of security In business that is Changes the power of big competition policy to a supervisory authority.

Pfister writes in an email to E24 that he is convinced stronger measures are needed in the grocery industry today and that a market investigation tool could be such a measure.

– I understand very well that proposals that are supposed to contribute to more competition and thus the transfer of power create a huge debate, wrote Vestry.

Not currently: Doing nothing in the grocery industry is not an option, notes Minister Vestry.

He says that the government “will, of course, inform ourselves of all the responses from the consultations and listen to counter-arguments before we come to a conclusion.”

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– At the same time, I would like to emphasize that it is not appropriate to do nothing. Weak competition in the grocery market has been a theme for as long as I can remember. Now I am the business secretary and I intend to do something about it.

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very invasive

Actors who think the proposition is in favor invasiveand to protest, among others, against:

  • The Norwegian Competition Authority is able to intervene based on assumptions about negative impacts in the future.
  • That the supervisory authority be able to impose structural measures such as the sale of a business on individual actors.
  • The threshold for implementing the interim measures is very low.
  • That the supervisory authority be able to designate an official to help follow up on decisions, and who can enter into agreements on behalf of individual undertakings.

It’s the latter that Freya says she’s primarily against and notes is “extreme, extremely annoying and unnecessary”.

Crucial: Chris Callanan, managing director of Freya’s owner Mondelez Norge, signed the consultation response in which the company urged the government to wait “aggressively” to adopt the proposal.

– There may be an increase in grocery prices

Since, according to critics, the threshold for the Norwegian Competition Authority’s intervention is too low, the business world will be affected absence of security and unpredictability, for example.

It will be difficult for companies to calculate the risks of stepping in against something that is not infringing, notes the NHO.

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“The consequence of the increased uncertainty could be at worst an increase in grocery prices for Norwegian consumers,” Hennig Olsen Ess writes.

when it comes to b Investigation Critics believe that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry itself did a poor job of clarifying all relevant aspects of the proposal and that an expert committee should have been set up and their conclusions awaited.

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Fear of distributing energy

The market investigation tool will also give the Norwegian Competition Authority big muscles to the body It gains much more power The traditional supervisory authority, as indicated by a number of actors.

“If the proposal to introduce a market investigation tool is adopted, the Norwegian Competition Authority can impose intervention measures on individual actors in the case of fully legal market conduct. The proposal thus gives the Norwegian Competition Authority a central role in the development of Norwegian business policy,” he wrote. cup.

The grocery operator wants to make a more comprehensive assessment of the consequences “by moving away from the previously important principle that there should be a clear distinction between those who design competition policy on the one hand and those who implement competition law on the other.”

Schibsted, the group that E24 is a part of, thinks this transfer of power would be unfortunate.

The most obvious effect […] Decision-making power moves from parliament and government to competition power, Shepstedt argues, and otherwise creates great organizational and strategic uncertainty for the business world.

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Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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