• Reform of Commercial Agreements in the Agricultural and Food Supply Chain in Italy
  • February 6, 2013
  • Law Firm: Norton Rose Canada LLP - Montreal Office
  • The Monti government introduced a number of significant legislative reforms over the last year.

    Among these reforms, one concerns the agricultural and food supply chain in Italy; in particular, Art. 62 of Law Decree No. 1/2012, as converted into law by Law No. 27/2012 and further amended by Law Decree No. 179/2012, as converted into law by Law No. 221/2012 (“Art. 62”) sets forth a number of significant new requirements which have to be fulfilled by agreements concerning the supply of agricultural and food products in Italy, (e.g. the obligation to (i) use the written form for the contract, (ii) include some elements therein, such as the duration of the contract, the quantity, price and characteristics of the products, and the terms and conditions of delivery and payment, (iii) ensure transparency, fairness, proportionality and balance of the exchanged goods).

    Furthermore, with regard to the above agreements, Art. 62 prohibits some conducts such as (i) imposing unduly burdensome conditions, (ii) applying to different parties substantially different commercial conditions for the provision of comparable goods, (iii) requesting services not connected to the main object of the contract, and (iv) achieving unfair unilateral advantages. In addition, Art. 62 also provides for a maximum payment term for perishable good (i.e. 30 days) as well as non-perishable goods (i.e. 60 days).

    Non compliance with the above rules involves, in certain cases, heavy fines for the infringing companies. The Italian Competition Authority is entrusted with surveillance and fining powers in relation to the enforcement of this new discipline.

    On the basis of the above, a detailed client briefing paper that illustrates the new legislative framework and provides guidelines on the application of such legislation is enclosed.