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Make sure UTP negotiations help farmers - and consumers

25 October 2018
by eub2 -- last modified 25 October 2018

Today's European Parliament Plenary gave a mandate to Paolo de Castro MEP to start negotiations with the Council and Commission on the Directive on Unfair Trading Practices in the Food Supply Chain. We thank the large number of MEPs who sent a clear signal that they were uncomfortable with many of the amendments put forward in the draft mandate.


EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren commented:

"There has been a lot of – often emotive – language and pressure from a number of players on MEPs to adopt amendments which are no doubt driven by a legitimate wish to help farmers, but will instead make already powerful food multinationals even stronger. Retailers and wholesalers stand for, and have a direct interest in, fair trading practices in a free market economy. This is why we ask the rapporteur, Commission and Council to negotiate a balanced final outcome, which respects its agriculture legal basis, delivering benefit to farmers, and reflects the objectives and spirit of the original Commission proposal."

This means focusing its coverage on farmers and SME suppliers, not large manufacturers, removing the reversal of the burden of proof, and provisions on economic dependency which will harm SMEs. It also means ensuring that the directive is legally sound, keeping the list of prohibited and restricted practices limited and clearly defined in a way which enforcers can monitor and apply without creating legal doubt and delay for all involved.

Verschueren added:

"The Parliament mandate, as adopted today prohibits 58 practices by buyers, and none by large sellers, leaving retailers and consumers defenceless against unfair treatment by multinational manufacturers. Many of these changes have been pushed for by global brand manufacturers with the aim simply of increasing their returns to shareholders. This is not about fairness, and we call on negotiators to make sure that the final text adopted brings positive results for consumers, SMEs, farmers, and European jobs."

EuroCommerce is the voice for six million retail, wholesale, and other trading companies. Its members include national commerce federations in 31 countries, Europe's 27 leading retail and wholesale companies, and federations representing specific sectors of commerce.

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