The Swiss authorities have decided to shelve an investigation into the German car-maker, Volkswagen. The company was suspected of preventing its dealers in Italy from selling cars to Swiss nationals.
The competition commission launched the investigation at the end of 1997, when prices for new cars in Switzerland were between 10 and 20 per cent higher than in Italy.
"We had strong evidence which led us to open the inquiry two years ago," said the commission's president, Roland von Bueren. "But in the meantime, a study of the market has shown that the price difference has narrowed so much that a parallel market hardly exists anymore."
As a result, he added, the investigation has been suspended. Throughout the inquiry, Volkswagen had denied the accusations against it.
The commission added that the liberalisation of the car market had played a key role in narrowing the prices between Switzerland and the rest of the European Union.
A separate inquiry into the French car manufacturer, Citroen, is continuing. Citroen is suspected of banning dealers in different countries from selling its cars to each other.
swissinfo with agencies