November 20, 2019 at 4:20 pm #5299
EVALUATION OF VBER AND VGL STATUS QUO
20 NOV 2019
Dear IUCAB Network!
The VBER (Vertical Block Exemption Regulation) and the VGL (Guidelines on Vertical Restraints) guarantee legal certainty, which is necessary for commercial agents and principals in order to cooperate. If commercial agency agreements are not expressly excluded from Article 101(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the distribution channel via commercial agents would risk to disappear to the disadvantage of many SME principals as well as consumers. The current VBER will expire on 31 May 2022.
The Commission started at the end of 2018 an evaluation process in order to determine what had worked well and what needed to be changed. In spring 2019, a public consultation took place where IUCAB and 12 IUCAB member associations participated. In total, the Commission received 164 contributions.
In addition, 13 position papers were forwarded to the DG Competition who is responsible for the process. Thereof the position paper of EuroCommerce and SMEunited where all points transmitted by IUCAB were taken into consideration.
IUCAB and CDH at stakeholder meeting
Last week on 14 and 15 November, DG Competition held a VBER workshop. The workshop was a follow-up to the stakeholder consultation in the spring. There were more than 180 participants from different stakeholders. A very high number of representatives from industry, brands, franchising and online platforms registered. IUCAB and the German member association CDH participated and underlined the importance for the profession. Furthermore, the exchange with responsibles of DG Competition and other stakeholders was highly important.
Prior to the workshop, EuroCommerce held a meeting where the commercial agents position was strengthened.
IUCAB presented its arguments
Commercial agents are usually bound by the instructions of the principals in terms of prices and conditions such as limitations on the territory or on the customers. These instructions are part of the Commercial agency agreements. Otherwise the commercial agent contract is not working. In addition, the Commission approved during the REFIT review some years ago that the distribution channel through commercial agents is of particular importance for the internal European market.
The workshop summary will feed, together with the results of a current research, into the Staff Working Document, which will be published at the end of the evaluation phase, currently foreseen for the end of the second quarter of 2020. The final Commission Proposal is expected for the beginning of 2021.
IUCAB made all possible steps in order to prolong the VBER and its guidelines and to maintain the exemption for commercial agency agreements, which is a matter of survival for approx. 600,000 commercial agents and agencies.
IUCAB. We speak the International Language of Sales.
P.S. Member associations are invited to forward the update to their members.
IUCAB – Internationally United Commercial Agents and Brokers.
IUCAB is the worldwide alliance of independent sales organisations.
Wiedner Hauptstrasse 57, 1040 Vienna, Austria, Tel.: +43 5 90 900 3379
President: Olivier Mazoyer; Secretary General: Christian Rebernig
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