No role of nationality in antitrust probe: EU antitrust chief

By Money Times

Oct 05, 2015 01:45 AM EDT

Ruling out North America's claim that European antitrust authority is going in an anti-US bias in dealing with Google and Apple, the European Competition Commissioner (ECC) Margrethe Vestager has termed it as a misleading notion of the world's largest economy. Vestager has been criticized in the US media for her role in opening multiple cases against the US corporate giants Google, Apple, Amazon and Starbucks during the past one year. Vestager has become the target of the US media as European regulators are protecting EU companies from the US competition.

Europe's antitrust chief said that not only US companies, other nations including Japanese auto firms are also facing cases in cartelling charges.

Europe's antitrust chief Vestager has opened cases against Google for abusing its leadership position internet search engine and Apple for in an Irish tax deal. Amazon is facing charges over a Luxembourg tax deal while Starbucks is in a fix over a Dutch tax arrangement.

Shrugging off all the allegations against the European antitrust regulator, Vestager says there's no importance of nationality of companies in the European market. As part of our investigations and measures against antitrust issues, necessary action would be taken on companies. 

In a text speech to be delivered at the Foreign Policy Association in New York, Vestager said: "Some claim that our cases involving internet giants such as Google or Apple are evidence of bias. Well, that's a fallacy. Yes, US companies are often involved when we investigate the digital industry. But, you will also see many Japanese firms in our car-part cartel cases."

There wouldn't any role of nationality or background of companies those involved in such cases, according Vestager. EU's antitrust has filed several cases against many overseas companies involved in misutilizing market monopoly, cartelling to regulate market prices, etc. 

European Competition Commissioner Vestager has been stepping up action in defending her role in protecting the EU's antitrust body. She further clarified that antitrust regulator sees no role of nationality or origin of companies. It just follows laws of the land.  

Several US companies particularly technology giants are becoming the targets for antitrust charges and facing stringent scrutiny in the region. It's also learned that many European nations are examining the Facebook's privacy settings as well. 

Feeling the heat of antitrust charges in the Europe, the US technology and other corporate firms are expressing their concerns that this would impact their operations in other parts of the world as well. Market observers feel that many local lawmakers are wary of the dominance of the US technology companies. 

Vestager further said that EEC's data on cartel fines and mergers shows there's no geographic bias in antitrust cases. The European Commission is examining the response from Google on antitrust charges over the search engine's favoring its Google Shopping service over competitors. EU is also probing the charges on taking undue advantage of Google's popular operating system Android for smartphones. 

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