Amendments to the Protection of Competition Act

On 24.07.2015 the amendments to the Protection of Competition Act were promulgated. The most significant change is in Art. 1, whereby the scope of public relations regulated by the PCA has been set. The amendment expands the subject of the Act with the prohibition for "abuse of a stronger negotiating position." The Act forbids the company with a stronger position in negotiating any act or inaction which contradicts good commercial practice and harms or may harm the interests of the weaker party in the negotiation. For example such actions could be ungrounded refusal to supply or purchase goods or services, unreasonably heavy or discriminatory conditions or unreasonable termination of commercial relations. The term "a stronger negotiating position" is new to Bulgarian legislation. There is stronger negotiating position when trading partners of the company are dependent – due to the characteristics of the market’s structure, specific relationship between the companies, the nature of their activities and the difference in their scale.

The APC provides that abuse of stronger position in negotiating should be penalized with up to 10% of the company’s turnover for the previous year originating as of the sale of the product (good or service), subject to the infringement but not less than BGN 10 000. In case there is no turnover achieved, the Commission of Protection of Competition could impose pecuniary penalty within the range of BGN 10 000 - BGN 50 000.