Break­through as EU agrees to tackle un­fair trad­ing prac­tices in the food sup­ply chain

The Sligo Champion - - NEWS -

To­day’s agree­ment on rules to tackle un­fair prac­tices such as delist­ing, hello money and or­der can­cel­la­tions in the agri­cul­tural and food sup­ply chain, has been de­scribed as “an im­por­tant de­vel­op­ment” by Mairead McGuin­ness MEP and first Vice-Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment and lead ne­go­tia­tor for the big­gest po­lit­i­cal group­ing in the Par­lia­ment, the EPP.

“This is a first, a sig­nif­i­cant mo­ment with the EU in­tro­duc­ing leg­is­la­tion to deal with un­fair prac­tices by buy­ers in the agri­cul­tural and food chain”, she said.

Sup­pli­ers with an an­nual turnover of up to €350 mil­lion will be pro­tected by this new law which ap­plies to un­fair prac­tices by buy­ers in the chain, in­clud­ing retailers.

The Di­rec­tive pro­hibits spe­cific prac­tices:

· Late pay­ments

· Or­der can­cel­la­tions

· Uni­lat­eral changes to con­tracts · ‘Hello’ money

· Mis­use of com­mer­cial in­for­ma­tion · Re­tal­i­a­tion or threats to re­tal­i­ate com­mer­cially against the sup­plier.

Ms. McGuin­ness who has spear­headed the is­sue for over a decade and gar­nered the sup­port of 600 mem­bers of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment to call for leg­isla­tive ac­tion said to­day marks a “break­through” for Euro­pean pro­duc­ers.

Un­der the law food pro­duc­ers can lodge com­plaints with en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties in their own Mem­ber States.

“In Ire­land it is ex­pected that the rel­e­vant author­ity is the Com­pe­ti­tion and Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Com­mis­sion which will en­force the new di­rec­tive, when it is trans­posed into Ir­ish law,” she said.

En­force­ment au­thor­i­ties will have power to im­pose fines and sanc­tions. They will have to take spe­cific fac­tors into ac­count when set­ting the penal­ties, in­clud­ing whether or not the buyer is a re­peat in­fringer.

Nam­ing and shame of in­fringers is also en­vis­aged.

“This Di­rec­tive is very much a step­ping stone to hav­ing a more ro­bust, fair and sus­tain­able food sup­ply chain,” Ms McGuin­ness said.

“While we’re happy with the agree­ment reached, as ne­go­tia­tors we have in­sisted that the Di­rec­tive must be eval­u­ated within four years and a de­ci­sion taken if fur­ther leg­is­la­tion is re­quired,” she said.

Luke “Ming” Flana­gan MEP pic­tured re­cently at a Ir­ish Natura and Hill Farm­ers (INHFA) Meet­ing in Knock­ranny House Ho­tel, West­port, Co. Mayo with left to right Colm O’Don­nell (INHFA Pres­i­dent), Luke “Ming” Flana­gan MEP, Mar­ian Harkin MEP, Gerry Loftus (Forestry Spokesper­son), Michael Fitz­mau­rice TD, Se­na­tor Rose Con­way Walsh, Char­lie McCon­a­logue TD and Brendan Joyce.

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