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Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., From Competition Law to Compliance Law: example of French Competition Authority decision on central purchasing body in Mass Distribution, Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 27th of October 2020
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Summary of the news: Through its decision of 22nd of October 2020, the Autorité de la concurrence (French Competition Authority) accepted the commitments proposed by retail sector's firms Casino, Auchan, Metro and Schiever so that their agreement by which a common body centralizes purchases from numerous retailers, allowing each to offer these products under private label, is admissible with regard to competitive requirements.
In this particular case, the Authority had self-sized in July 2018, estimating that such a purchase center could harm competition, opening immediately a large consultation on the terms of the contract. In October 2018, the law Egalim permitted to the Authority to take temporary measures to suspend such a contract, what the Authority did from September.
The convention parties' firms committed on the one hand to update their contract limiting the power on suppliers, especially small and very small suppliers, excluding totally of the field of the contract some kind of products, especially food products and reducing the share of bought products volume dedicated to their transformation in distributor brand.
The Autorité de la concurrence accepts this proposal of commitments, congratulates itself of the protection of small suppliers operating like that and observe the similarity with the contract consisting in a purchase center between Carrefour and Tesco, which will be examined soon.
We can draw three lessons of this innovating decision, which could be a model for after:
1. The technique of Compliance Law permits to the Autorité de la concurrence to find a reasonable solution for the future.
2. The retail sector finally regulated by Compliance technics.
3. The political nature of Compliance law in the retail sector
To go further, on the question of Compliance law permitting through indirect way the rewriting by the Conseil of a structuring contract (linking a platform created by the State to centralize health data with an American firm subsidy to manage them).