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EU Implements Directive on Unfair Trading Practices in Agricultural and Food Supply Chain 

The European Union (EU) has adopted broad legislation intended to minimise the impact of unfair trading practices among business-to-business participants in the agricultural and food supply chain.

Published at the end of April in the Official Journal of the European Union, Directive (EU) 2019/633 expressly prohibits a number of business practices between buyers and suppliers. Specific practice issues addressed in the Directive include buyer/supplier contracts and agreements, payments, order cancellations, refunds, charge-backs to suppliers, and acts of commercial retaliation.

The origins of the Directive date back to 2011, when the European Commission’s High-Level Forum for a Better Functioning Food Supply Chain put forth a set of principles of good practices among participants in the food supply chain. Subsequently, the European Parliament invited the Commission to develop and submit a proposal for a Union-wide legal framework to address unfair trade practices, supported by a request from the European Council that the Commission also undertake an impact assessment of unfair trade practices.

EU Member States have until 1 May 2021 to adopt and publish national laws and regulations implementing the essential requirements of the new Directive in their respective countries. These measures must take effect not later than 1 November 2021.

The text of the EU’s Directive on unfair trading practices in the agricultural and food supply chain as published in the Official Journal is available here.

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