Proceedings have been initiated by the President of UOKiK (Office of Competition and Consumer Protection), which is Tomasz Chróstny. It will check whether the largest entities in the agri-food sector pay farmers, suppliers and contractors on time. The question will also analyze whether trade and pricing policies have not changed during the epidemic to the detriment of smaller contractors. Mr. Tomasz, the President of UOKiK, asked for clarification to nearly 100 entrepreneurs - moving in Polish retail chains and the largest producers in the industries - meat, dairy, fruit, vegetable, cereal and oilseed processing. Due to the availability of information on foodfakty.pl, we provide further information.
- During the epidemic, the demand for food did not significantly decrease, which is why the proper functioning of the agri-food sector is so important. It is particularly important for entities to maintain financial liquidity at all levels of the food supply chain. Poland's food security requires adherence to payment deadlines between contractors, as well as ensuring transparent contract terms and not using the current situation to put pressure on smaller suppliers. In this regard, we will verify the practices of the largest market players so as to ensure fair commercial relations between them - says President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection Tomasz Chróstny.
Pursuant to the provisions, the maximum time to settle the liability should not, in principle, be longer than 60 days from delivery of the goods or delivery of the invoice. However, it should be remembered that if the contract provides for a shorter time to make the payment, it is binding. After the expiry of the contractual or legal period, the supplier is entitled to interest.
The initiated proceedings are conducted within the framework of the Act on counteracting the fraudulent use of contractual advantage. They are pending in a case, not against specific entities. The goal of the President of UOKiK is to check how the largest entrepreneurs meet their obligations to pay suppliers and whether they do not use other forms of exercising advantage over smaller entities. In the case of identification of such practices - the Office's priority is their smooth elimination from the market.
- The present time requires market solidarity more than ever. Larger entrepreneurs are expected to be more responsible for contractors, who have much greater opportunities for efficient functioning on the market during this period than other sectors of the economy. The dependence of smaller entities may lead to the temptation to put pressure on additional economic benefits from larger players, which cannot be accepted. In the coming weeks we will verify the behavior of entrepreneurs on the agri-food market. I expect that the Office's activities will streamline flows between entrepreneurs, and any illegal practices will be eliminated immediately without resorting to administrative measures. I encourage entrepreneurs to voluntarily verify their practices in order to avoid negative consequences - it is worth approaching trade relations with contractors honestly and responsibly - explains Tomasz Chróstny, President of UOKiK.
In the last three years, UOKiK has undertaken over 100 interventions regarding the unfair use of contractual advantage. Most of them ended with a rapid change in the conditions for the supply of agricultural and food products, including in particular shortening payment deadlines.
Source of information: https://www.uokik.gov.pl/aktualnosci.php?news_id=16370