INTERNATIONAL: POLAND - UNFAIR COMMERCIAL PRACTICES - FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN - REGULATION

Poland: Regulation on unfair contractual practices in the food retail sector – An answer to inefficient private enforcement or an example of good regulation?

The article focuses on relatively new law in Poland aimed at elimination of unfair commercial practices in relations between undertakings in the agricultural and food products supply chain, thus at protection of weaker players - farmers and small suppliers. The Act on counteracting the unfair use of contractual advantage in the trade in agricultural and food products specifies a basis for the public enforcement of the prohibition against such practices and provides for possibility of imposition of relatively high fines. The article introduces the background of the introduction of the Act, the scope of its provisions and briefly analyses reported decisions of the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) issued during more than two years after the Act entered into force. In most cases, undertakings voluntarily undertook to promptly change their practices and improve the situation of their contractors, and in this way avoiding financial penalties. However, the first fine in the highest possible amount was recently imposed. The President of UOKiK is still conducting seven proceedings.

Introduction 1. The Polish Act on counteracting the unfair use of contractual advantage in the trade in agricultural and food products entered into force on 12 July 2017 [1] (hereinafter the “Act”). Its main goal is to eliminate unfair commercial practices in relations between undertakings in the agricultural and food products supply chain. Its ultimate goal is to protect weaker players—farmers and small suppliers. The Act provides a basis for the public enforcement of the prohibition against such practices and imposes relatively high fines. 2. During more than two years after the Act entered into force, the president of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) issued six decisions on its basis. In most cases, undertakings voluntarily undertook to promptly change their

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Joanna Affre, Malgorzata Kozak, Poland: Regulation on unfair contractual practices in the food retail sector – An answer to inefficient private enforcement or an example of good regulation?, February 2020, Concurrences Review N° 1-2020, Art. N° 92699

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