Soon now, the President of UOKiK will gain a stronger hand out of concern for food suppliers
By all indications, the new rules will be implemented already in the first half of December – the legislative Act of 4 October 2018 regarding amendment of the Act regarding counteraction of unfair exploitation of contracting advantage in dealing in agricultural and food produce, just signed into law by the Polish president, is slated to come into force 14 days following its publication in the Journal of Laws. This, in turn, is planned – according to the Government Legislative Centre – by 26 November at the latest. Thus, various participants in the agricultural market have little time to come to grips with the numerous changes.
(...) The amended statute will certainly enable the president of UOKiK to intensify audits at companies. But it is hard to assess whether it will be effective in solving the problems of business enterprises. We should bear in mind that UOKiK’s activities over the short period in which the statute was in force, including the audits performed by UOKiK staff, discovered problems not so much with so-called shelf fees levied by retail networks as with long payment periods, delayed remittances and, first and foremost, prices for agricultural produce lower than producer expectations. While the present legislative amendments may indeed expand the group of enterprises falling within the ambit of the statute, I doubt whether they will do much to dispel the interpretative doubts concerning the very definition of contracting advantage. The haste with which the Ministry of Agriculture proceeded with the amendments was probably informed by numerous protests by farmers, but it had little impact on the situation prevailing in the market for fruits and vegetables. It is therefore a pity that these efforts have not been coordinated with the government agency working on the legislation intended to counteract payment blockages, which likewise envisages amendment of the Act just recently changed. In this way, protestations of streamlining and rationalisation of the legislative process in the interests of the business community – no to mention economy of process – have once again proved to be just talk.