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Trustbuster examining monopolies' pricing

The Israel Antitrust Authority is taking steps to lessen the burden of Israel’s high cost of living by addressing monopolies that charge unjustifiably high prices. On Thursday, Antitrust Commissioner David Gilo published a draft with policies for dealing with monopolies.

“In Israel’s economy, which is characterized by small, concentrated markets, often with high entry barriers, there is particular legitimacy for giving the Antitrust Authority and citizens effective tools to fight this phenomenon,” the draft states.

The draft is intended to help monopolies come up with legal pricing policies, as the law states that monopolies may not charge unfair prices. This includes strategically low prices designed to push competition out of the market as well as unreasonably high prices that give the monopoly significantly higher profit margins than would be possible in a truly competitive market. The draft primarily addresses the issue of defining what’s considered an unfairly high price. It states that without regulatory intervention, the less competition in a given market, the higher the price. (Hila Raz)

El Al: No more Turkish flights to Israel

Airline El Al wants to block Turkish airlines from adding more flights to and from Israel. The company’s general counsel complained that while Israeli airlines don’t fly to Turkey at all, Turkish airlines operate 112 flights to and from Israel. This status quo has to change, attorney Omer Shalev said to the Civil Aviation Authority. Israeli airlines don’t have flights to Turkey because the latter refuses to allow Israel’s stringent security conditions. Shalev was speaking during a conference at Tel Aviv University hosted with the cooperation of the Israel-Turkey business authority. (Zohar Blumenkrantz)

Bill slammed for protecting Nesher monopoly

A draft bill limiting bags of cement to 25 kilograms, up for discussion in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation today, is drawing heat from the Economy Ministry, which is calling it an attempt to block imports that would interfere with the monopoly of Nesher Israel Cement Enterprises. The bill was drafted by MK Haim Katz. Internationally, cement is generally packaged in 50-kilogram bags, while it is believed that Nesher intends to switch over to packaging its cement in 25-kilogram bags. In the explanation for the bill, Katz states that this is an attempt to protect the wellbeing of workers who carry bags of cement on their backs, which ultimately benefits the economy.

Katz tried to have an identical bill passed in July, but ran into opposition from the Economy and Finance Ministries, which called it an attempt to protect Nesher’s interests. While cement currently is not imported in sacks, such a bill would block imports in the future. (Ora Coren) 

An El Al plane. (Illustration)Credit: El Al via Bloomberg