23 Jan EPL Compliance Regulations and Guidelines
We wish to bring to your attention EPL’s regulations on membership. The EPL is a pan-European non-profit organisation registered in Belgium, having its aim and objective in providing its members a platform for, among other things, exchange of ideas and spreading of information with regard to the activities in the petrochemical industry, through meetings, conferences and debates. The actual implementation of the EPL object is made through a dinner & meeting in which a speech is delivered.
Thus, the attendance of members and their representatives during each quarterly meeting must be accompanied by attendance of the members and their representatives to the EPL dinner.
Furthermore, it is imperative that Members shall not use the EPL quarterly gathering and platform to organise and/or participate and/or solicit and/or being solicited, in members and/or non members’ dinner which is not the EPL quarterly dinner.
Such prohibited activities, among other things, causes damage to the existence of the EPL.
The membership of Members who do not comply with these regulations may not be approved or may be revoked, notwithstanding other rights the EPL have under applicable laws to protect its rights.
Guidelines for compliance with EU Competition Law
We wish to bring to your attention EPL’s guidelines for compliance with EU Competition Laws during EPL events.
The Competition Laws are not intended to restrain legitimate business activity. The goal of the EU’s competition policy is to protect and develop effective competition in the European market and protect consumers.
Paragraph 1, Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”) is the main EU provision affecting industry associations and provides that the following shall be prohibited as incompatible with the common market.
All agreements between undertakings, decisions by associations of undertakings and concerted practices which may affect trade between Member States and which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the common market, and in particular those which:
- directly or indirectly fix purchase or selling prices or any other trading conditions;
- limit or control production, markets, technical development or investment;
- share markets or sources of supply;
- apply dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties, thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage;
- make the conclusion of contracts subject to acceptance by the other parties of supplementary obligations which, by their nature or according to commercial usage, have no connection with the subject of such contracts.
Therefore, the EPL Committee has adopted the following guidelines so that our members and their representatives will not knowingly or wilfully enter into any activity, which might violate the competition laws (please note that these are only guidelines and not an exhaustive list):
Members and their representatives are requested not to discuss with competitors or disclose information not in conformity with EU and national competition law, including on:
- Individual company/industry prices, price changes, price differentials, discounts, rebates, allowances and credit terms.
- Individual company data on costs, production, capacity (other than nameplates capacities), inventories, sources of supply and sales.
- Cost computing methods.
Production, Products, Customers
- Plans of individual companies concerning the design, production, distribution or marketing of particular products, including proposed territories of customers
- Limitation or control of production capacity or supply of any product reaching the market
- Limitation or control of any investment or technical development.
- Changes in production capacities (other than nameplates capacities) or inventories.
- Matters relating to individual suppliers or customers, particularly in respect of any action that might have the effect of excluding them from the market.
- Rates or rate policies for individual shipments, including basing point systems, zone prices and freight.
- Company bids on contracts for particular products; company procedures for responding to bid invitations
- Matters related to actual or potential individual suppliers or customers that might have the effect of excluding them from any market or influencing the business contact of firms towards them
- Blacklist or boycott customers or suppliers.
Please note that prohibited discussion topics apply equally to social gatherings incidental to organised EPL meetings.
The EPL committee, each member and its representative(s) should ensure the strict performance of the following:
- A secretariat representative should be present at each organised meeting
- Special counsel should be consulted on all questions related to competition law.
- Meeting discussions should be limited to agenda topics.
- Each member and committee member should be provided with a copy of these guidelines and a copy should be available at all meetings.
- An agenda and minutes should be prepared which accurately reflect the matters discussed or to be discussed.
- Agendas, minutes and other important documents should be reviewed by appropriate staff or counsel prior to distribution.
- The purposes, structures and authorities of the groups should be fully described.
- Any discussion or meeting activities, which appear to violate these guidelines, should be requested to be stopped so that counsel can make appropriate legal checks.
- In the event such meeting cannot be stopped, albeit Members request, Members should leave meetings in which these activities continue and the incident should be minuted.
Do not forget that we all have an obligation to ensure that the various activities of the EPL are conducted in a legal and competition wise manner.