As consumers and companies we rely on the markets to acquire the goods and services we need. In this commercial cycle the existence of free competition is the best guarantee that we will all be able to choose in the market what best suits our needs and tastes and obtain the best price-quality relation at all times.
A competitive environment encourages companies to enhance the quality of products and services and keep prices in check. Competition therefore becomes a key stimulus for innovation, technological advances and the search for more efficient means of production.
Article 38 of the Spanish Constitution recognises free enterprise in the framework of a market economy, guaranteed and protected by the government authorities. True competition between enterprises is one of the defining elements of the market economy, disciplines the actions of companies and channels production resources toward the most efficient operators or techniques.
Despite the benefits obtained by society as a whole from competitively functioning markets, at times the private interests of certain economic agents may not be consistent with the principles that inspire free competition, and the incentives to carry on restrictive practices detrimental to competition can be important. It is on such occasions that intervention by competition authorities becomes necessary to ensure competitive functioning of the markets and that their benefits accrue to the entire society. Antitrust authorities also become involved when an economic concentration implies a possible alteration of the market structure contrary to the maintenance of effective competition.