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The Unfair Trade Practices Directive for the Agri-Food Supply Chain in Practice: A Complex Reality for Multinational Food Business Operators

Victor van Ahee, Willem-Friso Haagsma, Fausto Caronna, Riccardo Molè

The UTP-Directive aims at harmonization of certain minimum prohibitions of unfair trade practices by (larger) buyers against (smaller) suppliers in the agricultural and food chain. Member States were supposed to implement the UTP - Directive into national law prior to 1 May 2021. However, only recently all Member States have succeeded, but the outcome of the implementation shows substantial differences in practical effects between Member States. As food business operators have not much (or no) time left to bring existing contracts into compliance with the new legislation, it would be good to take a close look at the UTP - Directive and the implementation thereof in the EU. This article provides a review of the UTP - Directive, the prohibited unfair trading practices, and the implementation thereof into national legislation. Following the review, the peculiarities of some Member States and Italy and the Netherlands in more details are set out, in order to show the effects of the implementation of the UTP-Directive for (international) food business operators.

Victor van Ahee is a lawyer specializing in environmental law at Van Doorne in The Netherlands. Willem-Friso is also a lawyer and is a member of the commercial team of the Litigation & Risk Management department at Loyens & Loeff in the Netherlands. Fausto Caronna and Riccardo Molè are lawyers at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in Italy specializing in competition law and Fausto Caronna also leads its Italian consumer law practice.


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