McGuireWoods’ Matthew Hall Pens Law360 Article on Antitrust and Cross-Border Trade Restrictions in the EU

July 9, 2024

The European Commission and national regulators in the European Union remain committed to preventing companies from illegally restricting trade in the EU, regardless of whether they operate in traditional manufacturing industries or only sell digital goods, McGuireWoods London partner Matthew Hall wrote in a July 8, 2024, Law360 article. Both the rules on agreements and unilateral abuse of dominance are applied.

On May 23, 2024, the commission fined Mondelēz International Inc. €337.5 million for anticompetitive agreements and unilateral behavior that restricted trade in chocolate, biscuits and coffee. The aim was to prevent price decreases in countries with higher prices. The fine was substantial due to the long duration and widespread impact of the infringements, reflecting the commission’s clear stance against such practices, Hall explained.

The Mondelēz case underscores the commission’s continued focus on ensuring the free movement of goods in the “single market,” essential for consumer benefits and inflation control, Hall wrote.

“The case serves as another warning to companies active in the EU to check their contracts and practices for illegal restraints on cross-border trade, and to perform activities such as audits to ensure compliance,” wrote Hall, an antitrust lawyer and member of McGuireWoods’ Government Investigations & White Collar Litigation Department.