Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Presidential Endives

with 5 comments

Endives have been a highlight of this blog.

They have become a presidential topic.

Last week, in a large-audience TV programme, N. Sarkozy discussed – and actually lambasted – the decision of the French competition authority (FCA). This comment was in reaction to a question by a woman in the audience, who complained that the FCA decision prevented agricultural producers to coordinate selling prices.

Here’s N. Sarkozy’s answer (quick and dirty translation):

The FCA “went a little to far … I would like agricultural producers to be able to sell at prices above production costs … hence one must define, with other production groups, what is an average production price … and the competition authorities must not consider this average production price as a restriction of competition“.

In clear, the price of veggies should be defined collectively amongst producers at a level > costs, and the competition watchdogs should not challenge this.

But there comes my preferred part. To conclude N. Sarkozy added, referring to the FCA officials:

They must have the intelligence of understanding that were are not talking about Microsoft and Apple“.

Check the video above or here between 2:00:45′ and 2:01:57′.

Written by Nicolas Petit

20 March 2012 at 8:10 am

Posted in Case-Law, Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. What about that Christmas pudding merger in the UK: “The OFT considered the prospect of entry and expansion, including by firms already producing other types of steamed puddings, but did not find evidence that firms had sufficient capacity or experience to engage in production on a large scale.” Horrible things anyway, and easy to make at home.

    Matthew Hall

    20 March 2012 at 10:39 am

  2. Still struggling with the meaning of “They must have the intelligence of understanding that were are not talking about Microsoft and Apple“. Does this mean a) “other than Microsoft and Apple, endive producers have not been able to make large profits on account of the consumer benefits their superior innovations have generated” or b) “other than Microsoft and Apple, endive producers are French firms, so we shouldn’t mind if they engage in a conspiracy”?

    Perhaps endive producers should simply listen the soft whisper of the market mechanism (“grow something else”).

    Hans Zenger

    20 March 2012 at 2:37 pm

    • 🙂

      It is more b), but under the following variant: c) other than Microsoft and Apple, whose main executives are US citizens, agricultural producers represent thousands of French voters, and the competition agency should leave them in peace.

      Nicolas Petit

      20 March 2012 at 2:50 pm

      • That’s a helpful comment from Mr Sarkozy – I will give up trying to use endives as the operating system for my PC. I will also stop wrapping my iPhone in ham.

        Mark English

        21 March 2012 at 10:39 am

  3. If you are interested here is a video of a demonstration by endive producers (see in particular at 2’15”: “We are – at the Autorité – in front of the wall of shame”). For those familiar with the French judicial system, this case has also been dubbed by the endive producers (I think it was said by the leader of the national union of endive growers) “l’Outreau de la concurrence”.

    Video available here:

    Thibaud Vergé

    20 March 2012 at 7:11 pm

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