According to the results of the Competition Council's practice and public opinion survey – in Latvia, there are two significant competition issues: prohibited agreements and distortions of competition caused by the state and local governments or public administrative bodies, which often manifest themselves in the creation of unequal conditions of competition, discrimination, or exclusion of undertakings from the market.
The Competition Council will ruthlessly address the most serious violations of competition law in public procurement in various sectors with a large impact on the economy, including the continuation of case investigations already started in 2021.
The Authority will also devote significant resources to the supervision of public administrative bodies, which has been particularly relevant to the Competition Council's agenda since 2020, when amendments to the Competition Law entered into force, giving the Authority stronger powers to address distortions of competition caused by public administrative bodies. In order to prevent violations of competition neutrality, it is important to ensure immediate changes in the behaviour of a public administrative body, which also provides immediate benefits to the society therefore, the Competition Council intends to use negotiation procedures as the most effective tool for preventing possible violations. At the same time, however, in 2022, the Competition Council will not refrain from imposing fines in cases if public administrative bodies do not want to change behaviour that distorts fair competition. Furthermore, for advisory purposes, the Competition Council has initiated and will continue to compile sectoral summaries, based on analysis of public administrative bodies involvement in various markets, for example, in the fields of health, public transport, housing management, etc. areas.
To identify barriers to free and fair competition in a timely manner, the Competition Council intends to focus on sectors with a significant impact on the economy and markets with rapid development or innovation. Among other things, the Authority will pay attention to the conditions of competition in the field of trade, considering the obligation to monitor the new Prohibition of Unfair Trading Practices Law and the need to educate market participants in the food supply chain. Attention will also be paid to insurance and financial markets, considering past supervision and signals from market participants and industry supervisors. The Competition Council will also focus on digital platforms and their impact on their customers and competitors.
In markets that are not functioning effectively, the Competition Council will monitor and address abuses of market power by dominant companies and prevent concentrations in markets that are harmful to competition. The institution will also participate in the identification and elimination of unjustified restrictions on competition in laws and other regulatory enactments and in the process of improving the regulatory framework of competition law. It will remain relevant to assess the business restrictions and support mechanisms imposed by state to reduce the spread of the Covid-19, providing an opinion on unjustified business restrictions imposed by the state.