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Poland: Protection of farmers against unfair trading practices

Christian Fernsby |
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Grzegorz Puda, together with the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, Tomasz Chróstny, presented with proposals for new solutions included in the bill on counteracting the use of contractual advantage in trade in agricultural and food products.

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The new act will serve to combat unfair commercial practices and implement a directive of the European Parliament and the EU Council in this respect.

"We are one of the first countries to implement such solutions. The proposed regulations go beyond the minimum scope of protection resulting from the EU directive," emphasized Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Grzegorz Puda.

The head of the Ministry of Agriculture drew attention to the catalogs of permitted and prohibited practices contained in the act.

Pursuant to the new regulations, it will not be possible to pay for delivered perishable products within more than 30 days, and the remaining ones - within more than 60 days. The list of prohibited practices also includes an unjustified reduction in payment, e.g. as a result of a promotion introduced after the delivery of the goods.

"A dishonest action, which is included in the catalog of prohibited practices, is also the cancellation of an order for perishable products in less than 30 days from the planned delivery," Minister Puda informed, adding that - refusal to confirm the agreed delivery terms in writing will also be prohibited.

The president of the competition and consumer protection office, Tomasz Chróstny, also expressed satisfaction with the draft of the new act.

He pointed out that the agri-food sector is a very difficult sector, which depends not only on weather conditions, but is also exposed to unfair actions of other entities.

"The new solutions provide us primarily with a legal basis, they provide tools to eliminate unfair practices and use the contractual advantage in trade in agricultural and food products," emphasized the president of the office.

President Tomasz Chróstny appealed to entrepreneurs to signal any irregularities.

"We are not afraid to take even very strong actions," said the President of UOKiK.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Grzegorz Puda added that one of the effective tools are sanctions, the maximum amount of which amounts to 3 percent of the total turnover of a dishonest company.

The draft act also includes provisions enabling the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection to conduct proceedings not only in the case of prohibited practices specified in the directive, but also in cases where the use of contractual advantage by the buyer or supplier is inconsistent with good practice and threatens the significant interest of the other party or violates such business.

The first reading of the bill will take place on September 17 this year.

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