UTPs Guidebook: Q&As replying to queries of the addressed actors and explaining the Revised UTPs Act

The Act on the Amendments to the Act on the prohibition of unfair trading practices in the business-to-business food supply chain, OG 52/21 entered into force on 1 September 2021. The transitory period for the contracts that had been concluded between the suppliers and the buyers before the Act on the Amendments to the Act on the prohibition of unfair trading practices in the business-to-business food supply chain (Revised UTPs Act) entered into force is six months from its entry into force. In other words, these contracts must be brought into compliance with the Revised UTPs Act until 1 March 2022.

Similarly, the buyers who had not fulfilled the turnover threshold criteria for the application of the former UTPs Act must bring the contracts with their suppliers of food and/or agri products, domestic and foreign, in compliance with the Revised UTPs Act within six months from its entry into force, i.e., until 1 March 2022, if they fulfil the revised turnover criteria that constitute thresholds for their strong bargaining power.

Not only did Croatia bring its legal framework in the area of unfair trading practices in business-to-business relations in the agricultural and food supply chain into compliance with the Directive (EU) 2019/633 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019 on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the agricultural and food supply chain, but, in comparison with the existing UTPs Act, the Revised UTPs Act 2021 brings about a number of terminological adjustments and introduces a series of new unfair trading practices that go beyond the framework provided by the said Directive.

Together with the representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Croatian Chamber of the Economy, the Croatian Employers’ Association, attorneys at law and certain undertakings, the CCA experts collected questions and provided answers relating to a number of issues with respect to the application of the Revised UTPs Act. This Guidebook for the addressed actors of the Act on the Amendments to the Act on the prohibition of unfair trading practices in the business-to-business food supply chain (UTPs Guidebook) will be updated accordingly in cooperation between the CCA and the Ministry of Agriculture.

The received questions and the associated answers provided by the experts should give guidelines that aim to explain the provisions related to the application of the Revised UTPs Act, facilitate the compliance process, concretely, the necessary adjustments of the contracts and the business deals. However, it must be noted that these answers should be understood as general guidelines, whereas the application should take into account any specific background of each particular case, and therefore, cannot be taken as binding for the CCA in any concrete administrative proceeding, given the fact that CCA takes its decisions based on the relevant facts of the case in each particular proceeding, i.e., the investigation of the individual contracts, their specific content and nature of implementation.

The UTPs Guidebook is not an exhaustive list concerning the UTPs issues. It offers the most common questions and answers, shown in chronological order of their receipt by the CCA. This list will be regularly updated.

The UTPs Guidebook in the Croatian language is available here