ARTICLES: REFORM OF THE COMMON AGRICULTURAL POLICY - COMPETITION RULES - SECTOR’S SPECIFIC CHARACTERISTICS - COMPETITION ANALYSIS - EXCESSIVE PRICE VOLATILITY - MANDATORY COMMERCIALIZATION AGREEMENTS

Agriculture and antitrust: Towards new relationships?

A new reform of the Common Agricultural Policy will enter into force in 2013. Without amending the way competition rules apply to the agricultural sector, this reform will likely strengthen the trend initiated in previous reforms, which provide incentives for farmers to adopt a market-oriented strategy. In this context, the application of competition law to the agricultural sector may call for a renewed interest. The sector’s specific characteristics are better taken into account and influence the competition analysis. Mandatory commercialization agreements are perceived as an efficient tool to fight excessive price volatility. However, a strong sensitivity remains, with respect to agricultural prices.

*This article is an automatic translation of the original article, provided here for your convenience. Read the original article. 1. Once again, European agriculture is changing and competition law is set to play - perhaps even more than today - an important role in this development. The reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (hereafter CAP) in 2013, the continuation of the decoupling of agricultural subsidies and the planned disappearance of milk quotas aim to encourage farmers to make their production and marketing decisions based on market signals, and no longer on European subsidies. But, at the same time, the idea that market mechanisms may be partially unsuited to the specificities of the agricultural sector is no longer, today, a heresy in the eyes of the competition

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Michel Debroux, Agriculture and antitrust: Towards new relationships?, September 2011, Concurrences N° 3-2011, Art. N° 37073, pp. 89-95

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