With the “Regulation Amending the Regulation on the Principles and Rules to be Applied in Retail Trade” published in the Official Gazette dated 14 December 2023 by the Ministry of Trade, amendments were made to the rules regarding retail trade. The Ministry announced that these amendments were made in order to comply with the modifications made to the Law No. 6585 on the Regulation of Retail Trade in January 2023.
- PREVENTING UNFAIR COMPETITION IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN
The amendments to Article 4 of the Regulation aim to prevent unfair competition among actors in the supply chain. With the definition added to the said article, the activities that significantly disrupt the commercial activities of one of the parties in commercial relations between producers, suppliers and retail businesses, reduce the ability to make reasonable decisions or cause one of the parties to be a party to a commercial relationship that it would not normally be a party to, are defined as “unfair commercial practice” and it is regulated that administrative fines will be imposed on the actors in case of detection of these practices. Accordingly;
- Charging the cost of the campaign to a party that does not wish to have a campaign
- To make arrangements authorising unilateral changes in contracts to the detriment of the counterparty
- Again, to include provisions that are not clear and understandable in essential matters such as maturity-refund-campaign conditions in contracts
- Forcing the other party to buy products or goods from a third party, except for expectations regarding standards on content and technology in order to ensure quality standards
- The party that does not provide any service that directly affects the demand for the product (e.g. advertising service) and does not specify the type, duration and/or number of the service and the amount or rate of the service fee in the contract, receives a premium or similar consideration from the other party
- Receiving premiums and fees from other parties under the names of store opening and renovation, turnover deficit, bank and credit card participation fee and other names
will be considered an unfair commercial practice in any case, regardless of whether it causes harm to other commercial actors.
- To reflect the costs of administrative and criminal sanctions, customer complaints or similar situations to the manufacturer or
- Commercial reprisals against the other party when applying to public institutions or judicial authorities
- Causing damage to the counterparty by making false or misleading statements on important issues related to business scale, products and activities
may also be considered as unfair commercial practices.
- SPECIFIC REGULATIONS FOR SUPPLY CHAINS FOR AGRICULTURAL AND FOOD PRODUCTS
In addition to the principles and rules introduced for all supply chains within the scope of the Regulation, there are specific rules for the agri-food supply chain. For commercial players operating in this sector, it is a condition for the protection of competition that the terms and conditions of the commercial relationship are set out in a written contract or by e-mail, fax or other written means in electronic media that can show the agreement between the parties. In addition, the cancellation of orders for agricultural and food products that are perishable within thirty (30) days from the date of production within thirty (30) days prior to delivery, as well as the consideration of the cost to the other party in case of loss of these products after delivery, are also considered anti-competitive.
The Regulation stipulates that payment terms for agricultural and food products, which have a shelf life of thirty (30) days from the date of production, must not exceed forty-five (45) days. Moreover, this period may be shorter depending on the economic scale of the parties.
- SMALL SCALE ENTERPRISES ARE SAFEGUARDED
The amendments under the Regulation also aim to protect small-scale enterprises. For instance, for agricultural and food products that can perish within 30 days from the date of production, the maximum payment period of 45 days can only be 30 days in cases where the creditor party is small-scale according to the Regulation on Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises. For agricultural and food products, other than perishable items, small-scale creditors must be paid within a maximum of sixty (60) days. It is important to note that if there is any doubt about the perishability of your product within thirty (30) days, you can obtain an opinion from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
- GLUTEN-FREE AND LACTOSE-FREE PRODUCTS ARE NOW EASIER TO ACCESS
With the addition made to Article 11 of the Regulation, an obligation regarding new dietary habits is introduced for department stores and chain stores, dealers and specially authorised businesses whose main business activity is the sale of fast-moving consumer goods such as food, beverages, cleaning and personal care products. According to the amendment, the Ministry of Trade will be authorised to impose an obligation on these stores and businesses, as well as chain stores with more than two hundred branches, to sell food products for diseases requiring medical nutrition therapy to be applied in branches with a sales area of more than two hundred and fifty square metres. This will help make it easier for the public to access gluten-free, lactose-free and similar medical nutrition products on store shelves.
These amendments to the Regulation will come into effect on 1st January 2024.
Atty. Burcu Gür