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ALYTUS REGION MUNICIPALITY INFRINGED THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE LAW ON COMPETITION

06 01 2005

The Competition Council discussed the conclusions of the previously conducted investigation concerning actions of Alytus region Municipality in 2004 when the local authority issued permits for trading at the Statehood Day and „Žolinės skrynia“ celebrations. The Competition Council established that actions of the Municipality constituted an infringement of Article 4 of the Law on Competition. The Municipality was issued a warning to the effect that the authority must, while passing decisions concerning the trading issues comply with the requirements of Article 4 of the Law on Competition. Alytus region Municipality was also obligated to abolish the relevant item in „The Rules on Trading and Provision of Services in public places in Alytus Region“ approved by the Resolution of the Municipality in 2000, since the provisions of the item concerned was likely to create different competition conditions for undertakings operating in the relevant market.

The investigation was initiated on the basis of the complaint lodged by an individual company. The company intended, on the occasion of the celebration of the Statehood Day arranged in Daugai township of Alytus region and the feast ,,Žolinės skrynia” arranged on the shore of the lake in Pivašiūnai village, to sell beer and food stuffs of long shelf-life and applied to the Municipality for an appropriate permit. On one occasion the company was issued a trading permit valid in the location where no holiday events were taking place, and on the second occasion the company was refused the permit. The permit authorising trading in the locations of the celebrations was instead issued to a company belonging to the „VP Market“ network, therefore the complainant company allegedly suffered damage. The purpose of the investigation was to clarify whether actions of the Alytus region Municipality could have created different competition conditions for certain undertakings.

The Law on Local Self-Government of the Republic of Lithuania authorises municipalities to establish the order of trade in public places, without, however, granting municipalities the right to decide which undertakings are eligible and on the possible scope of trade. It has been established that while issuing permits to trade during the Statehood Day held in Daugai town and the feast in Pivašiūnai town the Municipality was discriminating certain individual undertakings which could have resulted in different competition conditions in respect of the applicant.

The investigation also established that item 6 of the „The Rules on Trading and Provision of Services in public places in Alytus Region“ permitting trading in foodstuffs and non-food products from mobile stores only in those villages which do not have stationary stores, grants certain advantages to the stationary stores and discriminates the undertakings trading from mobile stores. The Competition Council obligated the Municipality to abolish that particular provision of the Rules as contradicting the Law on Competition.

Competition Council Spokesperson