› COMMERCE an auction (= public sale) at which the price being asked for something is slowly reduced until someone will buy it: Some traders, especially those selling fruit, would stand on their stalls and sell their goods by Dutch auction.
› FINANCE a situation in which two or more groups compete to see who can reduce an amount the most: The tendering process must not be a "Dutch auction": unfairly trading one tenderer off against another by using the lowest tender to seek a reduction in time or costs from the others. The Government and opposition are engaged in a Dutch auction over who would cut the most civil service jobs.
› FINANCE in the US, a system used by a company that wants to buy back its shares. The company sets the minimum and maximum prices it is willing to buy at, the shareholders state which price they would be willing to sell at, and the company then chooses which shareholders to buy from: Hambrecht conducts so-called Dutch auctions, in which the price is set at the highest possible level that allows all shares to be sold.