Shopping basket | Competition warns that setting caps on food prices is prohibited

The CNMC has thus positioned itself before the meeting that the Vice President and the Minister of Consumption, Alberto Garzón, will hold next Monday with consumer organizations and distribution employers to discuss their initiative to limit the prices of basic foods in the basket of the purchase against the impact of inflation.

According to the agency, both the Law for the defense of competition and the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union “expressly prohibit agreements or recommendations for fixing prices or other commercial conditions that restrict or distort competition”.

“The setting of maximum prices between operators, even under the auspices or encouragement of public authorities, It is a price agreement of the prohibited“For these regulations, the CNMC has pointed out.

The Commission has highlighted that has the obligation to monitor, investigate and punish any concertation that the companies can agree on, and has advised to assess “carefully the effects of any public intervention in terms of prices”.

In his opinion, an agreement to fix maximum prices, even if it is punctual, determines a standard or scale for fixing prices that “eventually leads to higher prices, less innovation, less investment and a negative alteration of the competitive structure of the market “.

The CNMC has warned of the possible decrease in price competition by companiesas well as the impossibility of small and medium-sized operators to follow this type of measures in economic contexts similar to the current one.

These measures can “carry a strengthening of the large market operators to the detriment of the rest, with long-term negative effects on the competitive structure of the market and, therefore, on consumers”.

The body has explained that the large distributors, due to their greater financial muscle, negotiating power and business diversification, may be in a position to face the sales at a loss that the agreed ceilings may imply.

Small distributors, at a disadvantage, may end up disappearing in a context like the current onemarked by high production costs, so that competition is eliminated, “a fact that always harms consumers,” according to the CNMC.

The National Commission for Markets and Competition has recalled that public regulation of prices normally has “counterproductive effects and the effects of regulation in the medium and long term must be carefully weighed”.

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