The Serbian Competition Commission (the "Commission") continues its diligent examination of the Serbian competitive landscape in specific industries, this time with inquiries in two more industries – sportswear (including footwear and sporting equipment) and oil (petroleum products). Once again, the aim behind the market test was to identify potential issues on the relevant markets and provide broader insight into the functioning of the relevant markets.
Both of these industries have previously been of some interest to the Commission. The Commission recently conducted dawn raids and fined several sportswear retailers for resale price maintenance. The Commission has identified significant concentration on this market, giving rise to potential concerns about restrictive agreements in the industry, especially vis-à-vis the relationship between suppliers and resellers.
Sector inquiries into the conditions in oil wholesale and retail have traditionally been high on the Commission's agenda, with a number of market investigations conducted into the past. The Commission noted a trend of market growth in comparison to 2016, especially in relation to production of crude oil and import of diesel fuel. The Commission (sadly) noted limited progress being made in terms of the recommendations relevant to market development it issued in previous reports. The Commission stated that it would watch over the oil industry with great care and already announced a new inquiry in this sector starting in March and covering 2017.
Sector inquiries have obviously been on the rise in the previous period, simultaneously contributing to the Commission's understanding of the workings of the markets identified as key to the Serbian economy and the antitrust awareness of market players. The next steps for both sector investigations and antitrust enforcement efforts spearheaded by the Commission remain to be seen and are eagerly awaited in the local competition community.