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- Merger Control Regime
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1.1 Membership of Supranational Organization
1.1.1 Is the jurisdiction a member of/party to a supranational jurisdiction?
Yes. Liechtenstein is a member of the European Economic Area and the European Free Trade Association.
1.1.2 Is the jurisdiction itself a supranational jurisdiction?
1.1.3 If the answer to Section 1.1.1 and/or 1.1.2 above is in the affirmative, what are the implications hereof?
As a contracting member state to the EEA Agreement, Liechtenstein is subject to merger control by the European Commission. This means that transactions triggering the thresholds under the EU Merger Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) No 139/2004 on the control of concentrations between undertakings) must be notified to the European Commission, save for markets and products falling outside the scope of the EEA Agreement.* Consequently, Liechtenstein is precluded from applying its own domestic merger control rules to such transactions.
EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA)
The EEA Agreement also contains provisions on the division of jurisdiction between the European Commission and the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA). EFTA states as defined under the EEA Agreement are Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Whereas Switzerland is an EFTA member state, it is not a contracting party to the EEA Agreement.
If the EFTA thresholds under the EEA Agreement are triggered, the transaction is said to have an “EFTA dimension” and must be notified to the ESA. In this case, Liechtenstein is also precluded from applying its own domestic merger control rules to the case, save for markets and products falling outside the scope of the EEA Agreement.*
If both the EFTA thresholds under the EEA Agreement and the thresholds under the EU Merger Regulation are triggered, the EU Merger Regulation takes precedence and the transaction must be notified with the European Commission.
The rules on attribution of jurisdiction are such that the European Commission in practice handles all cases. To date, no concentration with an "EFTA dimension" has been notified to the ESA.
The rules of the Merger Regulation on referral of cases between the Commission, ESA and national competition authorities are applicable to Liechtenstein through Protocol 24 of the EEA Agreement.
*Products falling within the scope of the EEA Agreement are set out in Article 8. Such products are those falling within Chapters 25 to 97 of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, excluding (in the context of Liechtenstein) basic and processed agricultural and fish products, and excluding the products listed in Protocol 2 of the EEA Agreement.
2. Establishing jurisdiction for notification of mergers
2.3 General thresholds
Liechtenstein has no national merger control or antitrust law.
However, the EU Merger Regulation and the provisions of the EEA Agreement regarding abuse of dominant position and unfair business practices apply. For more information, see Section 1.1.3 under the Merger Control Regime Schedule.
and last updated on 16-04-2020 by
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