COVID-19: state aid scheme sets maximum prices and margins for certain goods I Poland

30 April 2020 | poland newsletters

On 8 April 2020 the European Commission approved a state aid scheme worth Zl3.5 billion (approximately €700 million) for loans and guarantees to support the Polish economy in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.1

The scheme will allow the Polish authorities to grant aid to support Polish companies affected by the COVID-19 outbreak by providing liquidity support in the form of guarantees on loans and subsidised interest rates for loans.

The scheme introduces the following competition rules:

  • Maximum prices can be set at distribution or retail level for goods and services of great importance to people's health and safety or household costs.
  • Maximum prices which will include taxes and official margins can be set for certain medical products, foodstuffs intended for particular nutritional uses and biocides or pharmaceutical raw materials that can be used to fight COVID-19 or are unavailable due to COVID-19 (except for items on the refunded list).
  • An administrative fine of between Zl5,000 and Zl5 million (approximately €1,100 and €1.1 million) may be imposed for selling products at higher prices.
  • The Office for Competition and Consumer Protection (OCCP) president can impose additional fines for multiple instances of selling products at higher prices, selling products at extremely high prices (ie, up to 10% of the previous year's turnover), not presenting requested information to the OCCP president, presenting wrong or misleading information or precluding or obstructing inspections (ie, 5% of the previous year's turnover but no more than Zl50 million (approximately €11 million).
  • The new rules applied to medical goods as of 25 March 2020 and to other goods as of 31 March 2020.
  • New rules apply to non-interest consumer credit costs, including setting maximum cost amounts if credit is taken out for at least 30 days and some new credits.

Infringements of the new rules, which apply for 365 days from 31 March 2020, may be regarded as acts of unfair competition.

Endnotes

The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted by the European Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April 2020. The full press release is available in Polish and English.

This article was first published in International Law Office

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corporate/m&a

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