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ACM has launched an investigation into a buying cartel in the agricultural sector

18-11-2019

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has conducted dawn raids at several large traders in the agricultural sector. ACM suspects that they have made illegal arrangements about the buying price that they pay to farmers.

Price-fixing agreements harm farmers

Arrangements between buyers about the price that they pay to producers are not allowed. ACM suspects that the traders have coordinated the buying price with one other. This type of behavior may result in farmers being harmed because they are paid a lower price for their products.

What are the investigation’s next steps?

Over the next few months, ACM will investigate whether the Dutch Competition Act has indeed been violated. ACM may come to the conclusion that the law has not been violated. In that case, the investigation will be suspended. However, if ACM does find a violation, it may lead to a sanction.

ACM’s other activities in the agricultural sector

Besides this specific investigation into illegal price-fixing agreements, ACM also investigates numerous reports about possible other violations of the Dutch Competition Act in the agricultural sector. Furthermore, ACM is currently also conducting a study into the price breakdowns in the agricultural sector. The journey that our food makes from farm to fork consists of many steps. For a number of products per step, this study will show what prices various companies paid to buy products, and what their selling prices are.

Submit tip-offs or reports about illegal arrangements

Do you believe certain businesses, traders or sellers have made illegal arrangements? Or would you like to know whether certain practices are allowed? Please contact ACM.

Do you work in the agricultural sector, and do you wish to submit your tip-off anonymously, please contact ACM’s intelligence unit.

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