A practical guide, published by the Commission of the European Communities, now summarizes the essentials of competition law, enabling SMEs to grasp its principles and how it works. The aim of any company or business, particularly a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME), is to become more competitive and to link up with other firms in order to increase its market share, expand its distribution network, share in innovation, cut costs and improve its brand image. Conversely, SMEs do not wish to find themselves in a situation where growth is hampered by the existence of large, multinational groups whose economic power enables them to impose their products as well as their prices and networks. The benefits which the creation of a single market of 342 million consumers is expected to bring about, namely greater productivity, competitive prices and increased employment, depend on rules that guarantee free competition. This 55-page guide explains, for the benefit of small businesses, the application and practical effects of rules drawn up by the Commission to ensure that consumers always have a choice between equivalent products and/or services and to prevent the concentration of economic power from impeding the dynamic growth and development of SMEs. It sets out the principles, what is at stake, and how to use the mechanisms. Practical examples are given, along with tables enabling the user to check the legal character of an agreement with another company or concluded by others, and the measures to be taken. Topics include: Desirable agreements and prohibited agreements; restrictive agreements and abuse of a dominant position; legal procedures and practical aspects; information and advice.