The Turkish Competition Board announced hot off the press the
outcome of the investigation against nine Turkish paper recycling
companies, and the Turkish paper sector investigation with
administrative monetary fine request for waste paper export
restrictions resulted in an individual exemption recognition of the
Turkish Competition Authority.
ELIG, Attorneys-at-Law has represented Modern Karton, the
largest Turkish paper recycling company, in this investigation,
which marks one of those extremely rare files in Turkey where a
policy concern not directly related to competition law (i.e. a
policy concern relating to minimizing trade deficit) may have
played a role in the ultimate decision, together with a state
action defense of the parties concerned, as the parties collective
behavior was influenced by a set of rules brought by the relevant
ministry tackling trade deficit.
The Turkish Competition Board found that the defendants violated
competition laws by harmonizing their commercial behaviors and
colluding against waste paper producers that aim to export waste
paper. However, the Board did not levy turnover-based monetary
fines against the defendants and granted 3-year exemptions (as of
the effective date of the Communiqué No: 2011/6, i.e. June
2011) under objective criteria. These objective criteria are not
yet announced but will be delivered to the defendants by the
Presidency of the Turkish Competition Authority soon.
Per the regulation on the registered export of waste paper in
2011 (Communiqué No: 2011/6), waste paper producers have to
submit at least three approval letters issued by Turkish recycling
companies to let these waste paper producers export. Upon a
complaint that the Turkish recycling companies misused this
regulation to prevent the waste paper export and coordinated their
commercial behaviors vis-à-vis waste paper producers,
particularly the issuing of the letters, the Competition Board
initiated an investigation. After the presentation of the defenses,
the Competition Board concluded that the defendants' acts merit
an individual exemption, although these actions violated Article 4
of Law No. 4054 on Protection of Competition (which is akin to and
closely modeled on Article 101 of TFEU). As the Board accepted
defenses that the cumulative conditions of individual exemption
were met, the Board granted 3-year exemption to each defendant as
of June 2011 ending June 2014.
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