LAW ON CHARTERING AND PRICING IN THE INLAND WATERWAY SECTOR: CONFORMITY WITH EUROPEAN LAW INVESTIGATED.

In order to strengthen the competitiveness of its inland waterway sector, Belgium introduced two laws on chartering and pricing in the inland waterway sector on 22 August 2014. It is questionable whether the new regulation on pricing is in line with European law.

The explanatory memorandum of the law states that for the concept and definition of “unlawful low price” inspiration was found in the Akzo judgment of the Court of Justice of 3 July 1991. In this judgment the Court ruled that offering services at unlawfully low prices is a malpractice under EC competition law.

However, some of the nuances of the Akzo judgement are lacking in the Belgian legislation. In contrast to the Akzo Judgment, the Belgian legislation makes no reference to an intentional element, nor a dominant position nor does it distinguish between variable and total costs. The question arises whether the Belgian concept of "unlawfully low price" is consistent with European law that very clearly states that free pricing remains the basic principle.

Full text available in Dutch on: http://amboslaw.be/nl/de-nieuwe-wet-betreffende-de-bevrachting-en-de-pri...

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