ARTICLE: RESTRICTIVE PRACTICES - COMMERCIAL RELATIONS - FREEDOM OF NEGOCIATION - UNFAIR PRACTICES - CONTRACTUAL DISPUTES

Provisions on restrictive practices in question

In addition to the prohibition of anticompetitive agreements, abuses of dominant positions and the control of anticompetitive mergers, French competition law limits the freedom of negotiation of parties to commercial contracts. The goal of these limitations is to ensure a balance between suppliers and distributors in order to protect small suppliers, small distributors and farmers against the negotiating power of large retail chains. By limiting the freedom of negotiation of parties to commercial contracts, these provisions directly distort and undermine economic competition and the goal of competition law. It is proposed to eliminate these provisions from competition law, to pass a law against unfair practices eliminating the possibility of economic hold-ups by a party against another party to the contract, to accelerate the treatment of contractual disputes and, if it is considered that farmers, small producers and retailers provide a positive externality to society to subsidize them directly rather than to rely on a competition distorting mechanism to ensure their survival.

1. L’article 17 de la loi no 2018-938, loi pour l’équilibre des relations commerciales dans le secteur agricole et alimentaire, autorise le gouvernement à prendre par voie d’ordonnance toute mesure relevant du domaine de la loi pour modifier le titre IV du livre IV du code de commerce intitulé “De la transparence, des pratiques restrictives de concurrence et d’autres pratiques prohibées” afin, notamment, de “réorganiser ce titre et clarifier ses dispositions, notamment en supprimant les dispositions devenues sans objet et en renvoyant le cas échéant à d’autres codes”. Le gouvernement a engagé une consultation sur les modifications à apporter dans ce cadre. 2. Ce titre IV fait partie du livre IV du code de commerce, intitulé “De la liberté des prix et de la concurrence”, en dépit du fait que nombre des

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Frédéric Jenny, Provisions on restrictive practices in question, February 2019, Concurrences Review N° 1-2019, Art. N° 89458, www.concurrences.com

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