February 25, 2019 at 10:19 am #4364
As some of you may already know, the European Commission started an evaluation process of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER) adopted in 2010 which will expire on 31st May 2022, see enclosure.
Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“the Treaty”) prohibits agreements between undertakings that restrict competition.
The VBER exempts certain agreements and practices from the EU´s general competition rules. In the VBER as well as in the Guidelines on Vertical Restraints in chapter II, point 2, paragraphs 12-21, the commercial agency agreements are mentioned and fall outside of Article 101, paragraph 1. This is important because agency agreements contain e.g.
- limitations on the territory in which the agent may sell these goods;
- limitations on the customers to whom the agent may sell these goods;
- the prices and conditions at which the agent must sell these goods.
Without such parts in agreements, a commercial agent contract is not working.
Danger for the commercial agents
Three years before the expiry date, the Commission starts its examination to gather evidence on the functioning of the VBER and the relevant Guidelines. The evaluation will allow the Commission to determine whether it should let the Regulation
- prolong its duration or
- revise it.
It is now up to IUCAB and to the Commercial Agents Association throughout Europe to mobilize all forces so that the VBER and thus the so-called “commercial agent privilege” remain as unchanged as possible. We know that since 2010 the economic world has changed significantly. Nevertheless, the exemption for commercial agency agreements is and remains a question of survival for approximately 600,000 commercial agents and agencies in the EU.
During the REFIT review in 2014 we have succeeded to maintain the Commercial Agents Directive thanks to the support of the IUCAB member associations. It was approved that the distribution channel through commercial agents is of particular importance for principals organised as SMEs, in order to gain market access with their products in the EU countries. This added value for the internal European market would be in danger without the VBER.
- We are already in contact with EuroCommerce in order to underline the importance of the VBER for the profession.
- IUCAB will take part at the public consultation which was launched on 4th February 2019.
- We will forward you the necessary answers in time in order that all Member Associations within the EU take part at the questionnaire. The deadline to fill in the questionnaire is 27th May 2019.
- The LWG members are kindly asked to discuss the VBER during their next meeting and to give an additional feedback.
IUCAB Internationally United Commercial Agents and Brokers
A-1040 Vienna, Wiedner Hauptstrasse 57
T +43 5 90 900-3379
Load the consultation strategy here:
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