For the seventh year in a row, the Latvian Competition Council (CC) has maintained the high rating of three stars in the international Global Competition Review (GCR) rating, ranking among the 36 leading competition authorities in the world. The competition authorities of Belgium, Lithuania, Norway, the Netherlands, and other countries took the same position. There are currently more than 140 countries in the world with competition authorities, but only 36 of them are in the GCR rating.
The 2021 GCR review of the world's leading competition authorities highlights that the CC is the smallest of the competition authorities assessed in terms of the amount of work the authority can undertake and perform, but the surveyed external competition law experts readily praise the agency’s overall performance, especially in terms of how quickly it conducts its investigations.
The report pays special attention to the two investigations initiated during the reporting period regarding the abuse of a dominant position in the rail freight market, where the CC imposed a fine of 5 694 174 euros on the public capital company “LDZ CARGO” for abuse of a dominant position.
The rating also highlights the institution's new powers to address violations of competition neutrality caused by public administrative bodies – state, local governments and their capital companies – as well as the preventive activities implemented by the CC with the aim of educating public administrative bodies. At the same time, the rating emphasizes the successful representation of the institution in the courts, wherein the reporting period three of the appeal proceedings were terminated, leaving the decisions of the CC in force in all terminated proceedings.
The report also approves the institution's increased budget, which was increased by more than 800,000 euros at the end of 2020. The institution's funding is expected to increase every year until 2023. This additional funding will play an important role in creating additional jobs in the CC, strengthening staff salaries to provide further effective monitoring of the competition neutrality and the new Unfair Retail Trade Practices Prohibition Law (the URTPPL), as well as to strengthen the institution's IT investigation capacity.
The prestigious rating of global competition authorities is the main and only evaluator of the competitiveness and efficiency of competition authorities. It is published annually by the GCR, the world's leading competition policy and law publication. This is already the 21st quality rating, where institutions are rated two to five stars. The assessment takes into account indicators such as the size of the institution, budget, staff, salary, number of cases investigated, complexity and duration, amount of fines imposed, merger supervision issues, the proportion of measures to promote competition culture in the institution, the capacity of the institution, etc.