Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Sean Sherlock (pictured), has indicated that the government may not pursue legislation to force retailers to declare their profits in Ireland, as part of a statutory Code of Practice for the sector.
Speaking at a Seanad Eireann sitting to discuss the Agriculture Committee's recent report on a proposed Code, Minister Sherlock noted that retailer financial statements are governed by relevant EU company law directives and regulations, which declare that Irish subsidiaries of European businesses "need not produce consolidated accounts provided certain conditions are met."
He added that the government has "no plans to amend this disclosure regime in respect of specific sectors in the economy, as this would be open to accusations of discrimination and, were it to be required generally in the economy, it could have implications in terms of business costs and attracting foreign direct investment."
In addition, Minister Sherlock indicated that while the government intends to establish a supermarket ombudsman, their role will be to ensure that negotiating parties adhere to certain practices, rather than seek to set prices.
"In enforcing any regulations, the basic tenets of fair procedure and natural and constitutional justice must be upheld," Sherlock noted. "It is important to note that the introduction of any regulations does not, and cannot, guarantee anything regarding the prices received by any given link in the supply chain. Negotiations on price will remain an issue between the contracting parties, as happens in any commercial relationship. The intention of the new regulations will be to regulate certain practices, not set prices."
The Minister said that it is the government's intention to publish the Consumer and Competition Bill "by the end of the year, for debate in the Oireachtas in early 2014."
Commenting on the Agriculture Committee's report, Senator Mary White said that the "interventionist tone" of some aspects of the report could be damaging for Ireland's reputation as a "friendly country" for foreign direct investment. "Surely it is far too interventionist for legislators to become involved in the marketing strategy of retailers," she said.
© 2013 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones