COMPETITION • EUROPEAN LAW • RESTRICTIVE AGREEMENTS
According to traditional economic theory, the direct consequence of limiting production is an increase in prices to the detriment of users. Thus, agreements purporting to limit production are, apart from exceptional cases, considered to be particularly dangerous to competition. The Commission considers them to be restrictions by object, which do not require the existence of anticompetitive effects to be ascertained. This is the case where competing producers put in place production bans, jointly fix the volumes to be produced or delivery quotas, or control or limit production capacity, investments or sources of supply. Likewise, general import and export bans, purchasing obligations or agreements preventing the provision of technology to competitors, are prohibited.
However, when such an agreement contributes to promoting economic or technical progress, particularly where it can reduce overcapacities or meet environmental protection objectives, it may qualify for the exemption set out in Article 101(3) TFEU. Such is the case for restructuring agreements or those aimed at rationalizing production or for an agreement banning the production or importation of technically older washing machines in order to give priority to the development on the market of a newer, more energy-efficient model.