COMPETITION • EUROPEAN LAW • RESTRICTIVE AGREEMENTS
An exclusive purchasing agreement is one in which one of the contracting parties commits to obtain more than 80% of its annual requirement for goods or services from the other party for the purpose of resale only from that undertaking or from any undertaking designated by it to distribute its products (subsidiary or third party). While exclusive purchasing agreements are not in themselves unlawful, they may be anticompetitive by their effects if they restrict the market access of the supplier’s competitors or if they form part of a set of similar agreements that have a cumulative effect on the same market.
Before General Block Exemption Regulation No 2790/1999, exclusive purchasing agreements were covered by Block Exemption Regulation No 1984/83 of 22 June 1983, which exempted them only on condition that they were limited to five years in duration. Since Regulation No 2790/1999 and its successor Regulation No 330/2010, exclusive purchasing agreements fall into the category of non-compete obligations, which are only covered by the exemption if they do not exceed five years.