Advances in Regulatory Economics series
Edited by Michael A. Crew and Paul R. Kleindorfer
Chapter 18: The Proper Scope of the Rules on Abuse of Dominant Position in a Liberalized Postal Services Market
Richard Eccles and Pauline Kuipers* 1. INTRODUCTION The European postal services sector once again stands on the threshold of signiﬁcant further liberalization. In October 2006, the European Commission published, on the website of the Directorate General for the Internal Market, a proposal for a further Directive amending Directive 97/67, on the internal market for Community postal services.1 This new Proposal is described as ‘concerning the full accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal services’. It proposes full liberalisation – the abolition by member states of all special and exclusive rights granted to postal operators – by 31 December 2008; that is, with eﬀect from 1 January 2009. Separately, the Directorate General for Competition is in the middle of an in-depth review of competition policy on the application of Article 82 of the EC Treaty; that is, the rules on abuse of a dominant position. It published, in December 2005, a discussion paper on the application of Article 82 to exclusionary abuses, including, in particular, predatory pricing, loyalty discounting, tying and refusals to supply. The substance of the Commission’s review involves increased economic realism in its proposals for future application of Article 82 EC. It also discusses important issues for dominant companies such as, for example, their ability to reduce prices selectively to ‘meet the competition’. The discussion paper is expected to be followed by draft Commission guidelines on the application of Article 82 EC, codifying the Commission’s approach to various types of abuses of dominant position. The forthcoming draft...
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