Julkaisut

18. Tutkimus kilpailuoikeuden ja maatalouden sääntelyn yhteensovittamisesta

2004

ISSN 0357-5055 (nid)
ISBN 952-5299-71-6 (nid), ISBN 952-5299-72-4 (pdf)

Abstract: The purpose of the study is to analyse the application of competition laws to agricultural products, and more specifically, the interaction between competition law and agricultural law. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) consists of both economic and non-economic goals, while competition policy aims primarily to guarantee workable competition in the market. Both policies have a central function in ensuring the integration process in the EU. Competition problems may arise when the CAP is implemented. Import protection and production quotas restrict competition. Co-operation between farmers and their associations may be considered positive from the CAP point of view, but it also creates competition problems. Community law takes precedence over national law. Sector-specific competition rules are defined in each market organisation. A general agricultural exemption from competition rules is granted under the Council Regulation 26/62. National competition authorities must take into account the CAP objectives when applying na-tional competition laws. In Finland the objectives of the CAP have been well achieved, with the exception of producers’ income level and the productivity of the farms. Finland applies a non-interventionist model in its national agricultural policy. There are no specific rules on producer co-operation.

The Competition Act does not apply to farmer co-operation in the field of agricultural products provided that co-operation furthers the objectives of the CAP. In the application of the exemption, the objectives of the CAP and competition policy are balanced. The Competition Act needs clarification, for instance, in its application to CAP-related co-operation as well as to purchasing arrangements. The modernisation of the Competition Act will not harmonise the national agricultural exemption with Regulation 26/62, although this harmonisation would be justified in order to create a level playing field for farmer organisations and to ensure the predictibility of regulation.Abstract: The purpose of the study is to analyse the application of competition laws to agricultural products, and more specifically, the interaction between competition law and agricultural law. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) consists of both economic and non-economic goals, while competition policy aims primarily to guarantee workable competition in the market. Both policies have a central function in ensuring the integration process in the EU.

Competition problems may arise when the CAP is implemented. Import protection and production quotas restrict competition. Co-operation between farmers and their associations may be considered positive from the CAP point of view, but it also creates competition problems. Community law takes precedence over national law. Sector-specific competition rules are defined in each market organisation. A general agricultural exemption from competition rules is granted under the Council Regulation 26/62. National competition authorities must take into account the CAP objectives when applying na-tional competition laws. In Finland the objectives of the CAP have been well achieved, with the exception of producers’ income level and the productivity of the farms. Finland applies a non-interventionist model in its national agricultural policy. There are no specific rules on producer co-operation. The Competition Act does not apply to farmer co-operation in the field of agricultural products provided that co-operation furthers the objectives of the CAP. In the application of the exemption, the objectives of the CAP and competition policy are balanced. The Competition Act needs clarification, for instance, in its application to CAP-related co-operation as well as to purchasing arrangements. The modernisation of the Competition Act will not harmonise the national agricultural exemption with Regulation 26/62, although this harmonisation would be justified in order to create a level playing field for farmer organisations and to ensure the predictibility of regulation.

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