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Antitrust: Commission consults stakeholders on sustainability agreements in agriculture

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The European Commission is inviting stakeholders such as primary producers, processors, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and input providers to share their experience with agreements aimed at achieving sustainability objectives in the agri-food supply chains. EU law generally bans agreements between companies that restrict competition, such as agreements between competitors leading to higher prices or lower quantities. However, the European Parliament and Council of the EU recently adopted a new derogation allowing such restrictions in agreements in the agriculture sector if they are indispensable to achieve sustainability standards higher than EU or national mandatory standards. The Commission consults stakeholders to understand the types of sustainability agreements they have developed so far or would like to develop, the potential restrictions of competition that could have resulted or may result from such agreements as well as the possible impact of such cooperation on supply, prices and innovation. All stakeholders are invited to submit their views on the Commission's consultation website until 23 May 2022. The Commission will carefully review all input and will publish the stakeholders' submissions, a summary of the main findings and conclusions on the consultation website. The Commission envisages to have a public consultation on the draft guidelines in 2023. A press release is available online.

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