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OECD Competition Assessment Reviews: Greece

image of OECD Competition Assessment Reviews: Greece

The work undertaken by the Greek authorities in recent years to reinforce competition law and the Hellenic Competition Commission, to simplify business administration and to liberalise professional services have demonstrated the political willingness to address the problem of existing regulatory barriers to competition that have contributed to holding back the economic recovery.

The OECD Competition Assessment Project, through the scrutiny of legislation in four sectors of the Greek economy, food processing, retail trade, building materials and tourism, has identified 336 areas where particular reform can be undertaken, from a total of 539 provisions that were selected using the OECD Competition Assessment Toolkit.

If our recommendations are implemented, benefits to consumers in Greece and to the Greek economy should arise in all four sectors. Throughout this report, we seek to identify the sources of those benefits and where possible provide quantitative estimates. Estimates are made on the basis of experiences of deregulation in other countries in some instances, or by relating conservative estimates of efficiency gains to the overall size of the business activity affected.

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Building materials

The building materials sector covers many categories of economic activity. This assessment studied legislative restrictions in categories such as cement production and mines and quarries, and evaluated both harmonised and non-harmonised European standards for construction products. Specifically, transport and distribution centres for cement and exploitation rights for mines and quarries were studied with evaluation of existing harm to competition and potential benefits if restrictions are lifted. The categorisation of harmonised, non-harmonised and national specifications, which are set to ensure a uniform level of quality of products and constructions standards, is discussed for a variety of materials used in construction, among them plastic tubes, steel and chemicals and paints. The non-harmonisation of these specifications creates a double standard and constitutes a barrier to entry for manufacturers and suppliers to operate. The cumulative effect of the recommended changes will make building materials markets more open and competitive to the benefit of consumers.

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