export bans

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*Anticompetitive practices that have the effect of banning the resale of products from one EU territory in another state of the EU. Export bans have long been held to infringe the competition rules in Article 81 of the Treaty of Rome; they can lead the European Commission to levy fines of up to 10% of annual worldwide group turnover. Examples of practices that infringe the rules include clauses in contracts banning exports; an export ban in a written contract will be void when Article 81 applies. However, when the vertical agreements regulation 2790/99 applies it is permitted to restrict an exclusive distributor from actively soliciting sales outside its territory. It is not permissible to prevent a distributor from advertising on a website as this is regarded as “passive” rather than “active” selling. In addition, practices that have the effect of bolstering or imposing an export ban are forbidden, including buying up all parallel imports, marking products solely for the purposes of tracing them to stop parallel importation, and sending faxes to, or otherwise putting pressure on, dealers not to engage in parallel importation.

Subjects: Law.

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