Antitrust & competition law

Contractual advantage – novelty: (1) UOKiK calls on entrepreneurs to change practices (2) Decision on Dohler

This week is full of novelties in the field of unfair use of contractual advantage in trade in agricultural and food products.

Amendment to the act on contractual advantage
On Tuesday, 21 May 2019, an amendment to the Act on the Organization of Certain Agricultural Markets and the Law on Contractual Advantage appeared on the website of the Ministry of Agriculture – these issues are discussed in a separate news report.

Decision in the Döhler case
On Wednesday, 22nd May 2019, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (hereinafter: UOKiK) published on its website an information about the termination of proceedings in the case of unfair use of contractual advantage and the issuing of a commitment decision with respect to Döhler. Recall that the reason for initiating proceedings against Döhler were m.in. (1) too long payment terms, (2) practices of non-compliance with these payment terms, and (3) unclear provisions of contracts that gave the processor freedom in shaping the price.

As part of the UOKIK decision, Döhler was obliged to shorten payment deadlines and change the pricing principles, including by entering a contractual minimum rate for delivered products. The company was also required to audit payments for the period from July 2017 to May 2019, and in the event of a delay in payment of interest. The company was also obliged to make it easier for suppliers to use their own Supplier Financing Program, as well as to conduct training in this area.

Calls for changing practices and provisions
At the same time, the President of UOKiK announced that 13 other entities from the agri-food sector were invited to change the provisions and practices unfavorable for farmers. In the opinion of UOKiK, changes to be introduced by Döhler are to constitute a certain pattern of conduct for other participants.

Author team leader DKP Legal Michał Dudkowiak
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