GWB* amendment: Proposed change reduces the competitiveness of our business location
VDA President Hildegard Müller:
"The federal government's proposal for an amendment to antitrust law includes, above all, the new powers of the Federal Cartel Office to intervene massively in the behavior and structure of companies - without any preceding reproachable behavior on the part of the company. All market structures, all company sizes and industries in selected sectors are to be encompassed. The trigger point should already be a disruption of competition, but not a violation of applicable competition law.
However, sector-specific regulation – if it is to take place at all – must remain the task of the democratically legitimized legislator and must not be delegated to an authority. It is not the task of the Federal Cartel Office to restructure a market. For industrial companies, including those in the automotive industry and their value chains, there is also the risk that the Office could force individual companies to sell parts of the company (unbundling) without having identified a specific violation of competition law beforehand. We expressly reject this. The intended power to conduct unbundling would in fact be limited to companies based in Germany, because such a measure would not be legally enforceable against foreign companies. Such an approach would therefore also lead to discrimination against German companies in international competition.
The possibility of designing certain market structures (market design) without a clear legal basis would mean a fundamental change in competition control in Germany. The VDA is therefore calling on the legislator to at least postpone this amendment in order to enable the urgently needed discussion of the disadvantages of the antitrust reform. One thing is clear: the changes to the Federal Cartel Office's powers of intervention will worsen the competitiveness of the business location."
*GWB= Amendment of Act against Restraints of Competition