The German Federal Antitrust Agency (Federal Cartel Office) released its annual antitrust report on the 29th, showing that the agency issued a total of about 358 million euros in fines for antitrust cases this year. The bureau chief Andreas Monte said that the digital economy is the focus of the agency’s work in 2020, and it is currently investigating the US digital economy giants Facebook and Amazon.
The report showed that in 2020, the Agency imposed a fine of about 358 million euros on 19 companies and 24 natural persons, involving industries such as pesticides, automobile license plates, and aluminum forging.
Andreas Monte said on the same day that antitrust in the field of digital economy always holds the highest priority in the work of the Agency. He stated that the agency is currently investigating Amazon’s alleged practice of restricting sellers’ free pricing rights on its platform, as well as the possible damage Amazon may cause to sellers through cooperation with brand manufacturers.
Andreas Monte also said that the agency hopes to put an end to the investigation of Facebook launched in 2019 in 2021. The investigation involves Facebook’s practice of integrating data it has obtained from different channels. The agency is also investigating how Facebook bundled its social platforms with its virtual reality products.
Andreas Monte stated that Germany’s “Anti-Restriction Competition Act” is expected to usher in major amendments in the near future, which will enable antitrust agencies to more effectively prevent large digital platforms from abusing their market position.