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EU Invites Comments On Draft Guidelines For Sustainability Agreements In Agriculture

 |  January 11, 2023

The European Commission today launched a public consultation inviting all interested parties to comment on its draft proposal for Guidelines on how to design sustainability agreements in the field of agriculture (‘Guidelines’) using the novel exclusion from EU competition rules introduced during the recent reform of the common agricultural policy (‘CAP’).

Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’) generally prohibits agreements between companies that restrict competition, such as those between competitors that lead to higher prices or lower quantities. However, Article 210a of Regulation 1308/2013 establishing a common organisation of the markets in agricultural products (‘CMO Regulation‘) excludes certain restrictive agreements in the agricultural sector from that prohibition, when those agreements are indispensable to achieve sustainability standards.

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The draft Guidelines aim at clarifying how operators active in the agri-food sector can design joint sustainability initiatives in line with Article 210a.

Following the comments by the interested parties on the draft Guidelines, the Commission will carefully analyse those and implement any necessary changes with a view of having the Guidelines in place by 8 December 2023.