Uitvoeringswet digitalemarktenverordening (Digital Markets Act)
|Naam||SOMO (Ms M Silva)|
|Plaats||KNSM-laan 17 1019 LA, Amsterdam Nederland|
|Datum||9 april 2023|
Vraag1Wilt u reageren op de ontwerp Uitvoeringswet digitalemarktenverordening? Dan kunt u hier uw reactie geven. U kunt dat doen door een bericht achter te laten of door een document te uploaden.
We are then very grateful for the opportunity to comment on the Digital Markets Act Implementing Act. While SOMO is a Dutch organisation, we hope it will be acceptable to submit our opinion in English.
The Digital Markets Act can be a crucial step towards breaking the excessive power of a handful of companies and end their abusive. However, its success rests entirely on its enforcement. Monitoring, investigating, understanding and sanctioning some of the world’s biggest companies, with extensive resources and using closed technology, however, will require an immense effort. This cannot be left entirely up to the under-resourced and outnumbered team at the European Commission. It is clear that it will require a concerted effort from public bodies, including national competition authorities.
But there is another crucial piece of the enforcement universe: not-for-profit organisations, research organisations, academia and media. These have been crucial in the past decades in identifying abusive practices, producing innovative investigations , and engaging with and representing end-users.
Yet, the draft implementation guidelines do not provide for any mechanism for such third parties to have access to information/documents or mechanism for participation. It would be especially important to outline a mechanism/process to implement Article 27 in an open and transparent way.
Importantly, the European Commission should also ensure that procedures for handling documents received or produced within the context of the DMA are brought in line with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents.
This will inevitably imply adopting the principle of openness and limiting exceptions to disclosure to the minimum and only on justifiable exceptions. It also means, for instance, that it is up to the European Commission (not businesses) to establish and justify exceptions for disclosure. This is important to ensure that a company does not prevent adequate and reasonable disclosure by unduly invoking the commercial interest exception.
In doing this, and we would argue in all interactions with externals within the DMA context, the European Commission must impose strict disclosure procedures to prevent conflicts of interest or regulatory capture.
Vraag2Bent u in voldoende mate bekend met de inhoud van de DMA en wat de DMA voor u kan gaan betekenen? Waar zitten in uw ogen nog onduidelijkheden? Wat kan de Nederlandse overheid volgens u nog verder doen om deze onduidelijkheden weg te nemen?
The main procedural ambiguity we would like to raise at this point refers to the role of third parties from civil society as we have mentioned in the first question. We believe the ACM can play a key role in clarifying these and we make concrete proposals in question 3.
Vraag3U kunt op grond van de DMA bij de nationale toezichthouder melding doen van overtreding van de DMA. Welke rol ziet u weggelegd voor de nationale toezichthouder bij het ondersteunen van de Europese Commissie in het toezicht op de naleving en effectieve handhaving van de DMA? Welke voor- en nadelen ziet u bij een grotere rol voor de nationale toezichthouder?
We support the CMA’s impetus to complement and support the DMA’s monitoring and enforcement effort. We even hope that other European national authorities will follow the lead and dedicate resources to DMA implementation.
The obvious upside is that such support will add resources and strengthen enforcement. In our view, national authorities are also well positioned to act as a bridge with impacted or interested stakeholders. The ACM should make the most of this position by:
-Clarifying and operationalising Article 27 of the DMA. In article 4.2.1 of the explanatory memorandum, it is mentioned that raising complaints or sharing information with the ACM would be possible for market actors and “entrepreneurs”. This is narrower than the scope of Article 27 of the DMA. It should be clarified that the ACM’s complaint mechanism is open to third-parties beyond business users to also include consumer organisation, NGOs, research organisations, and others. The ACM should also clarify that it will inform these third parties of developments regarding their complaints;
- The ACM’s proximity to national stakeholders can also enable it to become an information point to interested third parties. It could do this for instance by hosting public workshops to discuss DMA implementation at the national level;
-The ACM should also ensure a high level of transparency of proceedings and access to information by, for instance, providing detailed summaries of its investigations;
-In article 4.2.4. of the memorandum it is explained the investigative powers of the ACM according to pre-existing legislation, among other things, enable the authority to “demand inspection of business data and documents”. It would be important to ensure that the investigatory powers are in line with those outlined in the DMA, including, for instance, access to data, IT systems, algorithms and testing information and requiring explanations of how they work.
The role of national authorities will also be crucial in the context of Article 14 of the DMA and its interplay with Article 22 of Regulation (EC) No 139/2004. Here, the ACM should strive to consider the information received regarding the concentrations thoroughly and seek to identify concentrations that raise anti-competitive concerns. The authority should also take into consideration other impacts such as those on labour and privacy standards. Here too the process should be as open and transparent as possible.
Vraag4Online platforms die vanwege hun belangrijke marktpositie als poortwachter worden aangewezen moeten zich aan een aantal regels gaan houden. Zo geldt bijvoorbeeld dat poortwachters hun eigen producten of diensten niet mogen bevoordelen in hun zoekresultaten. Ook mogen poortwachters u niet verbieden om uw producten of diensten met een lagere prijs, of andere voorwaarden, ergens anders aan te bieden. In de concept Memorie van Toelichting worden deze praktijken verduidelijkt. Kunt u voorbeelden noemen van situaties waarin u in Nederland met zulke praktijken bent geconfronteerd?
At SOMO we are concerned with what seem to be exploitative practices from Amazon towards the third-party sellers using its marketplaces services, including Amazon.nl.
In specific, we are concerned that Amazon’s Fair Pricing Policy, combined with its automated systems for vetting and promoting products (i.e. through the Buy Box) are in effect a direct violation of Article 5(3). It will be crucial to investigate Amazon’s policies, how they are implemented, how prices are monitored in and outside of Amazon and the pricing notices. All of this should be done transparently so that sellers will have the ability to raise complaints and highlight any non-compliance.
Our research has also highlighted that Amazon seems to be giving top billing for Amazon’s own products in its search results while, third party sellers, are being pushed to spend ever more on paid search results. We are concerned that these practices might be violations of Article 5(8) and Article 6(5).