Competition Bureau obtains court orders to move ahead in crop input supplier investigation

The Canadian Competition Bureau says it has received the required court approvals to move ahead with its investigation into allegations of anti-competitive interactions between several major crop input suppliers and Farmers Business Network (FBN) Canada.

The bureau says it obtained court orders on February 11, requiring BASF, Bayer, Cargill, Corteva, Federated Coop, Univar Solutions, and Winfield to produce records and written information relevant to the investigation.

The Bureau is investigating allegations that crop input manufacturers and wholesalers “anti-competitively” refused to supply — or restricted supply to — FBN, and that they engaged in co-ordinated behaviour against FBN.

“There is no conclusion of wrongdoing at this time,” says a statement from the agency.

FBN purchased crop input retailer Yorkton Distributors at Yorkton, Sask., in the spring of 2018 as part of its plan to expand into the Canadian market.

“We believe competition and price transparency is fundamental to a market economy, and to lowering farm expenses, so we are pleased that the Bureau is looking into this matter. We cannot comment directly on the Competition Bureau’s process,” an FBN spokesperson told RealAgriculture last week.

BASF, Bayer, and Corteva have said they plan to be fully cooperative with the investigation.

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