Stamping out unfair trading practices in the food chain

29.04.2016 10:28

Stamping out unfair trading practices in the food chain

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Views expressed here are the views of the national delegation and do not always reflect the views of the group as a whole
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Moves to stamp out unfair trading practices in the food supply chain took a step forward recently, when the European Parliament's Internal Market Committee endorsed the introduction of an EU Framework to tackle the issue, according to Mairead McGuinness MEP. The MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament has consistently campaigned for EU-wide legislation on UTPs and won the support of the Parliament's Agriculture Committee for the same last year.

"The Internal Market Committee has now voted in favour of the introduction of an EU framework to prevent UTPs in the food supply chain. While a common framework would not mean legislation per se, it is a positive step in the right direction," McGuinness said.

It follows a similarly positive vote by the Agriculture Committee in favour of an opinion authored by McGuinness which called for EU-wide legislation to tackle unfair trading practices (UTPs) and introduce fairness into the food supply chain last November.

“Unfair trading practices have a detrimental impact on farm incomes as well as on the sustainability of the food supply chain. I have been working on this issue for a number of years and I'm heartened that there is a cross-political understanding of the damage caused by unfair trading practices and a clear demand for Commission action," McGuinness added.

In January of this year, the UK Groceries Code Adjudicator's report on Tesco revealed that the supermarket chain mistreated its suppliers by engaging in practices such as delaying payments, duplicating invoices, overcharging and underpaying its suppliers. The report further fuelled the debate on how best to tackle UTPs at EU level, according to MEP McGuinness.

"Currently, 20 Member States have introduced legislation to tackle UTPs, out of this, 15 Member States introduced such rules in the past five years, indicating the prevalence of problems in the supply chain and the need for action."

While this regulatory action at Member State level is welcome, McGuinness has warned that some Member States' legislation goes further than others and that will cause an unequal playing field within the Union.

"It is of paramount importance that the Commission now reflects again on the need to introduce specific proposals for a harmonised EU regulatory approach on UTPs and an appropriate range of sanctions for those who violate the anti-UTP rules. Anything less would be insufficient," McGuinness concluded.

A final debate and vote will take place before the Summer.

Ireland will introduce new retail laws on April 30th.

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The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 215 Members from 27 Member States

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