Category Management Agreements Competition Law

1.2. Severe restrictions. The list of fundamental clauses of the regulation has not been substantially changed; However, the new rules on the nature of restrictions considered illegal under EU competition law have made several notable changes. 1. Safe Harbour category exemption. Like the existing category exemption rules, the new regulation exempts certain types of vertical agreements (i.e. mainly agreements between non-competitors operating at different levels of the supply chain) from being considered anti-competitive agreements contrary to EU competition law. In order to qualify for the exemption, the parties must meet a market share threshold and the agreement must not contain “characterized restrictions.” Companies operating in the EU and are parties to new or existing supply and distribution agreements should carefully consider the new regulation and guidelines. In particular, the new rules include a number of changes that provide companies with greater flexibility in applying certain restrictions than existing rules. Therefore, the continued use of existing form agreements, compatible with previous EU rules, may limit a company`s ability to achieve desired business objectives. However, in other areas, the revised rules clarify the types of restrictions that the Commission might consider problematic under EU competition rules. As a result, some companies may want to remove these restrictions in order to minimize potential risks. 3.

The date and the transitional period. The new rules will come into effect on June 1, 2010 and will remain in effect for 12 years until May 31, 2022. There will be a one-year transitional period during which existing agreements will continue to benefit from the category exemption under the existing regulation. The Competition Commission (FC) recently conducted an investigation into the supply of food in the UK as part of its market investigation powers. The CC`s preliminary results report, published at the end of 2007, provides a useful overview of its views on “category management,” which could guide future analyses in this area. While the provisional findings recognize that category management can directly benefit consumers and, From a retailer`s point of view, leading to an increase in the overall turnover of this category, the provisional conclusions point to a number of concerns that may arise regardless of the form of category management: on 20 April 2010, the European Commission (“Commission”) adopted a new category exemption regulation that reviews EU competition rules to vertical agreements between producers and distributors. , including internet or online sales agreements. In addition, the Commission has published new guidelines that provide an overview of the assessment of the legality of common restrictions in these agreements, including agreements that are not immune from regulation. The CC notes that some of the potential adverse effects of the category management process can be mitigated, for example by introducing effective “information barriers” between a supplier`s executives and their planning and negotiation services.