The objective of the Competition Act is to promote effective competition in economic activities and thereby increase the efficiency of the productive factors of society. The Competition Authority is responsible for achieving the objectives of the Competition Act by opposing unreasonable barriers and restrictions on freedom in economic activities, by opposing harmful oligopolies and restriction of competition and by facilitating the entry of new competitors to the market.
The role of the Competition Authority includes the following:
- To enforce the requirements and prohibitions of the Competition Act and, as applicable, Articles 53 and 54 of the EEA Agreement, and to permit exceptions pursuant to the Competition Act
- To decide on measures to be taken against anti-competitive behaviour of undertakings
- To observe that measures taken by public entities do not restrict competition, and to indicate to the relevant authorities any means by which competition can be made more effective and the entry of new competitors into the market facilitated
- To monitor the development of competition and trade practices in individual market sectors in Iceland and to investigate the management and ownership relations between undertakings
The supervisory work of the Competition Authority extends to all forms of business activities, regardless of whether such activities are conducted by individuals, companies, public entities or other parties.
The Icelandic Competition Authority (Samkeppniseftirlitið) was founded on 1 July 2005, when the Competition Act No. 44/2005 entered into force. By the same Act, the former Icelandic Competition Authority (Samkeppnisstofnun) and Competition Council (Samkeppnisráð) were discontinued.
Prior to the entry into force of Act No. 44/2005, the competition authorities in Iceland were also responsible for the supervision of unfair business practices and market transparency. These tasks were assigned to the Consumer Agency pursuant to Act No. 57/2005 on the supervision of unfair trade practices and market transparency.