The European, Middle Eastern and African Antitrust Review 2018

Poland: Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

14 August 2017

Legislative and sectoral developments For the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK), 2016 has brought about significant developments, mostly on the legislative front. First, with the adoption of the Act on counteracting unfair use of bargaining power in trade of food and agricultural products, UOKiK received new powers as the authority designated to enforce the applicable provisions. The law itself came as a reaction to a number of unfair trading practices which have been occurring in the food and agriculture supply chain. In order to effectively resolve disputes between suppliers and recipients of agricultural and food products, the Polish legislator introduced the concept of abuse of bargaining power. Bargaining power as such may be described as significant disparity in economic potential between two parties of a negotiation, with the weaker one lacking sufficient capacity for selling or purchasing products from other undertakings. According to the new legislation, when one of the parties of a transaction in the agriculture and food sector (both suppliers and acquirers) is subject to abuse by a commercial partner with bargaining power, UOKiK will be entitled to take action, whether it is on the basis of a complaint or ex officio. The powers and procedures of UOKiK will be similar to the ones specified in Polish competition law. Having established unfair use of bargaining power, UOKiK will be able to issue prohibition as well as commitment decisions, and impose a maximum fine of 3% of the company's turnover. The Act on counteracting unfair use of bargaining power in trade of food and agricultural products will enter into force on 12 July 2017. Implementation of the new law and application of the novel powers will be UOKiK's focal point in 2017 and for the years to come.

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