The rules of good conduct in the markets
I. General provisions
1. These rules are designed to counter unfair competition on the retail market and the market of advertising services and are advisory for all the subjects of these markets.
According to sections 14-1 of the Law "On counteraction to monopolistic activity and development of competition" and Article 1029 of the Civil Code unfair competition is not allowed in the Republic of Belarus.
Unfair competition is:
- any actions aimed at restricting or eliminating competition by violating the rights of other economic entities for free competition as well as violating the rights and legitimate interests of consumers;
- all actions that could in any way make confusion in respect of legal persons, individual entrepreneurs, goods, works, services or business activities of competitors;
- false allegations in business capable of discrediting the legal entity, individual entrepreneur, goods, works, services or business of a competitor;
- indications or allegations the use of which in business can be misleading about the nature, characteristics, suitability for use or quantity of goods, works and services of a competitor;
- other actions that are contrary to the requirements of legislative acts of the competition in business.
Thus, to avoid the restriction of competition business entities should not create a situation in which the business of the competitor would be unprofitable or will be carried out on extremely unfavorable conditions.
II. The rules of good conduct in the retail market
2. Legal persons and individual entrepreneurs engaged in retail trade (hereinafter - the retail trade organizations) are not allowed to conclude contracts (agreements) or concerted action, if such contracts (agreements) or concerted actions lead or can lead to:
- fixing or maintaining of prices, discounts, markups, extra charges which create obstacles for the preservation of a stable volume of sales of goods of other economic entities;
- the division of the retail market by territorial principle, volume of sales or purchases of goods, the range of sold products or set of sellers or buyers (customers);
- unjustified refusal to sign contracts with certain sellers or buyers (customers), unless such a refusal provided in the legal standard acts of the Republic of Belarus;
- imposing disadvantageous contractual terms on counterparty or terms, not related to the subject of agreement (unjustified requirements of transferring funds or other assets, including property rights, as well as consent to conclude an agreement on the condition that the provisions for a product in which the counterparty is not interested will be included in it);
- creating barriers for free access into the retail market or exit from the market for other economic entities.
3. Suppliers of goods and retailers are not allowed to conclude contracts (agreements) if:
- by such a contract (agreement) the supplier of the goods demands from a retailer debarring of a product of an economic entity - competitor from sale. This prohibition does not apply to contracts (agreements) on the organization of selling goods under a trademark or trade name of the supplier or manufacturer by retailers;
- such an agreement (contract) imposes the acquisition of services not directly related to the delivery (transfer) of goods (consulting, information, advertising, and similar services);
- such contracts (agreements) or concerted practices lead or can lead to the restriction of competition.
4. Unfair competition is not permitted for retailers and suppliers of goods, including:
- dissemination of false, inaccurate or distorted information, which can cause damage to competitors, discredit them or harm their business reputation;
- inconsistent comparison of the goods sold or supplied with the goods supplied or sold by competitors, inconsistent comparison of the conditions of the sale of goods with the competitors’ terms of realization of products;
- illegal use of trade name, trademark (service mark), an appellation of the place of origin of the good;
- illegal acquisition, use, disclosure of information constituting commercial, official or other secrets protected by law;
- acquisition and use of the exclusive right to the means of individualization of competitors, means of individualization of their products or services.
III. The rules of good conduct in the market of advertising services
In order to avoid restriction of competition in the market of advertising services advertisers, advertisement distributors are not allowed:
- to condition the conclusion of contracts for production and (or) advertising by the purchase of additional services or to impose in contracts unfavorable for another party terms (for example, to condition the contract for the advertising by signing a contract for its production, to provide in the contract for outdoor advertising purchase of a certain amount of advertising fields, and etc.);
- to use in the advertisements of goods (works, services) information that demonstrates the superiority of the advertised goods (works, services) over similar goods (works, services) realized (performed, provided) by other business entities (eg, through the use in advertising of comparison of goods advertised with "regular" products without the use of a specific name);
- to provide in the advertisement only a part of the essential information about the cost of goods (works, services), thereby mislead consumers (for example, to emphasize in the advertisement free services, and disclose the terms of their acquisition not in the advertisement but on web-sites or other sources of information);
- to reflect in the advertisement information that may affect the freedom of choice of consumers (eg, to provide the rating of goods (works, services), based on subjectively defined criteria, emphasizing the advantage of the advertised goods (works, services).