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Prohibition of parallel Imports as a hard core Restriction of Article 4 of Block Exception Regulation for vertical Agreements: European Law and Economics

Zevgolis, Nikolaos and Fotis, Panagiotis (2011): Prohibition of parallel Imports as a hard core Restriction of Article 4 of Block Exception Regulation for vertical Agreements: European Law and Economics.

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Abstract

This paper attempts, on the one hand, to reveal the main principles of Competition Law (regulatory and case law framework) covering the prevention of parallel trade, mainly the prohibition of parallel imports or exports, and on the other hand to cast light on the main effects of parallel imports prohibition imposed by an upstream supplier on the competitive structure of the downstream market. Especially, the regulatory framework relates Block Exception Regulation 330/2010, (ex Block Exception Regulation 2790/99), with Block Exception Regulation 461/2010 (ex Block Exception Regulation 1400/2002) in order to determine whether prohibition of parallel trade constitutes a hardcore restriction or not, while the economic analysis evaluates it in a geographical vertical market which constitutes an upstream and a downstream market with few suppliers & buyers respectively which sell goods to the final (domestic) consumers. The results indicate that prohibition of parallel imports by the upstream sellers causes vertical restraints to the domestic customers of the buyers.

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