The Regulation Amending the Regulation on Principles and Rules to be Applied in Retail Trade (“Amendment Regulation”), dated 14.12.2023 and numbered 32399, was published in the Official Gazette.In this article, the important changes introduced by the Amendment Regulation will be discussed.

Producers and Suppliers Also Covered by the Regulation

The scope of the Regulation has been expanded with the addition of the words “producer” and “supplier” to the article on the purpose and scope of the Regulation on Principles and Rules to be Applied in Retail Trade (“Regulation”). With this addition, manufacturers and suppliers, as well as retail businesses, will be subject to the restrictions and inspections set out in the Regulation. While the previous version of the Regulation regulated the principles and rules that retail businesses must comply with, the Amending Regulation updated these rules as “Principles and Rules to be Complied with in Retail Trade”. With this amendment, it is understood that the rights and responsibilities of all actors of retail trade are intended to be regulated.

30-Day Perishable Products Defined

The phrase “agricultural and food products perishable within 30 days” is defined. These products are “unprocessed vegetables and fruits, unprocessed red meats, unprocessed poultry meats, unprocessed seafood, offal, mushrooms, eggs, milk and dairy products, bakery products, ready-to-eat foodstuffs and partially cooked products and other products decided by the Ministry”. It is also regulated that if there is any doubt as to whether an agricultural and food product has spoiled within 30 days, a decision can be made by taking the opinion of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. This decision will be announced on the Ministry’s website and sent to higher professional organizations.

Unfair Commercial Practices Identified in the Retail Sector

The amendment regulation has changed the title of the article titled ‘Demand for Premium and Fee’ to ‘Unfair Commercial Practices in the Supply Chain.’ With this amendment, activities that significantly disrupt the commercial activities of the counterparty, diminish their ability to make reasonable decisions, or lead to the involvement in a commercial relationship that they would not normally participate in, are defined as ‘unfair commercial practices’ and prohibited in commercial relationships among producers, suppliers, and retail businesses. The regulation provides examples of such unfair commercial practices.

Accordingly, unfair commercial practices in the retail sector are as follows:

    • Forcing the counterparty to obtain goods and services from any person,
    • Passing on the campaign cost to the counterparty who does not want to engage in promotional sales,
    • Not specifying the conditions of the commercial relationship in the supply of agricultural and food products through a written contract,
    • Including unclear and unilateral change authority clauses that favor the party making the change to the detriment of the counterparty in the contract,
    • Charging the counterparty for services that directly affect product demand, even if such services are not provided,
    • Canceling orders for agricultural and food products that can spoil within 30 days from the production date within the first 30 days of delivery or passing on costs such as perishable or loss after delivery to the counterparty,
    • Passing on the costs related to administrative and criminal sanctions or customer complaints to the counterparty,
    • Taking retaliatory actions such as removing products from the list, reducing the ordered quantity, stopping marketing or campaign-like services related to these products, or imposing financial obligations, on the grounds of applying to public institutions or legal authorities,
    • Making false or misleading statements or notifications regarding the scale of the business and essential aspects of products and activities, causing harm to the counterparty.

Obligation to Determine Contract Dates

While the previous version of the regulation included the rule that “Payments arising from sales transactions between producers or suppliers and retail businesses must be made on the date specified in the contract,” the Amendment Regulation has expanded the scope of this rule. Now, it is emphasized that payments for not only sales transactions but all payments arising from commercial relationships must be made on the date specified in the contract.

 Payment Dates Have Been Shortened for Agricultural and Food Products

The payment period for agricultural and food products that can spoil within 30 days from the production date has been set at “45 days” without considering the scale of the parties involved. In cases where the scale of the creditor is smaller than that of the debtor to protect small-scale businesses, this period has been set at “30 days”. Additionally, for agricultural and food products that do not spoil within 30 days from the production date, in cases where the scale of the creditor is smaller than that of the debtor or vice versa, the payment period has been set at “60 days”.

The mentioned regulation aims to reduce disputes between parties regarding payments, achieve a shorter maturity period, and lower the financing costs and prices for producers and suppliers when determining prices.

Facilitating Access to Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free and Similar Products

The regulation grants the Ministry the authority to impose an obligation on chain stores with more than two hundred branches and branches with more than two hundred and fifty square meters of sales area to sell food products for medical nutrition required for diseases.