The European Parliament, the Council, and the Commission reached an agreement on a new set of rules that will ensure the protection of EU farmers and agri-food companies against practices contrary to good faith and fair dealing.
The new law will cover agricultural and food products traded in the food supply chain, banning up to 16 unfair trading practices imposed unilaterally by one trading partner on another.
Other practices will only be permitted if subject to a clear and upfront agreement between the parties involved.
Unfair Trading Practices
The new rules will cover retailers, food processors, wholesalers, cooperatives or producers' organisations, or a single producer who would be engaging in any of the unfair trade practices identified.
The unfair trading practices to be banned include: late payments for perishable food products; last minute order cancellations; unilateral or retroactive changes to contracts; forcing the supplier to pay for wasted products and refusing written contracts.
Member States will designate authorities in charge of enforcing the new rules, including the ability to impose fines and initiate investigations based on complaints.
“Today's agreement paves the way for a first-time EU law which provides significant protection for all EU farmers, their organisations as well as small and mid-range businesses. They will now be protected against all bigger operators acting unfairly and outside the rules,” Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said.
“I would like to express my appreciation to all the negotiators, whose constructive approach and hard work ensured today's political agreement. I am particularly pleased that the agreement was achieved within a remarkably short eight months of the proposal's presentation by the Commission.”
The European Commission said that the implementation of these will not lead to higher prices for consumers.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.