The publication of the EC Commission Guidelines on vertical restraints (hereafter "the Guidelines") represents a significant and substantive change in the competitive analysis of vertical agreements. The Guidelines contain the rationale underpinning the new Block Exemption Regulation (BER), whereby firms with low market shares are granted an automatic exemption from Article. 81. They also contain an analysis of how the competitive effects of those vertical agreements that do not qualify for the BER will be assessed.
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