In 2009, the Competition Authority maintained its three-star rating (equivalent to Good) with the Global Competition Review (GCR), a specialist journal that provides an annual assessment of competition authority performance worldwide.
The GCR awards ratings on the basis of information provided by the competition authorities themselves and the opinions of external observers connected with competition, e.g. lawyers, economists and academics.
In the 2009 edition of the evaluation report, now published, the GCR emphasises “notable successes” in the fight against cartels in Portugal. As an example, it gives the guilty ruling in the case of five mass catering enterprises. It also draws attention to the imposition, for the first time, of individual sanctions on the legal representatives of business enterprises.
In the fight against anti-competitive practices, the GCR publication also underlines the guilty rulings delivered for the abuse of a dominant position in the telecommunications sector.
Once again, the GCR praises the CA for the quality of its work and its efforts to reduce the time required to reach a decision in the merger control field. It qualified the newly-created electronic platform for merger notifications (SNEOC) as an innovative instrument and, similarly, the electronic database for all the mergers evaluated by the CA, available at its internet site (www.concorrencia.pt).
According to the source quoted by the GCR, the sectoral studies prepared by the Competition Authority match the highest international standards.
Specialists who replied to the GCR survey indicated a need for improvement in the explanation of the guidelines for enterprises and called for more information on the CA's decision-making process.
In the 2009 edition, the Competition Authority occupies the same level as the competition regulators in countries such as Austria, Brazil, Norway, Sweden and Hungary.
As in the preceding year, the highest rating – five stars – was only awarded to the two US regulators and one of the UK regulators, which make up the Elite group.
According to the GCR, 2009 was “a tumultuous year for competition enforcement agencies the world over” on account of the financial crisis. This was felt in particular in the area of mergers between enterprises, which recorded a drastic decline in numbers.