Legislate to Curb EU Supply Chain Abuses, Says NFU

EU - The European Commission must act quickly on unfair practices in the food supply chain through legislation, the UK's National Farmers Union (NFU) has said.
calendar icon 18 April 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

Speaking at the Copa Presidium meeting on Thursday (April 18), NFU President Peter Kendall will urge the Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services, Michel Barnier, to bring forward legislation to curb abuses of power in the European supply chain.

“With CAP budgets cut, volatile commodity markets and terrible weather we need is supply chains that are fair for everyone, Mr Kendall will say.

“From a UK perspective, it has been a long game. We’ve worked for well over 10 years on improving the imbalance of power in the supply chain. We know that the voluntary route alone doesn’t work, and our Competition authorities agree. We now have a statutory grocery supply code of practice which sets out the rules of the game, and legislation for if the rules are broken.

“We have made progress in the UK, but we need fair chains across Europe. We trade in a single market of 500 million people and if the horsemeat issue has taught us one thing it is that the food industry is interconnected across Europe.

“Copa-Cogeca has had a position on imbalances of power in the supply chain since 2007. The position favours a mix of options – voluntary codes and legislation underpinning them. I want to see markets function but they have to be fair to all players.

"When we have imbalances of power and unfair dealing in food chains, we clearly have a problem which can only be solved by a legislative oversight. This doesn’t mean messing about with business deals. We don’t mean a top-down, box-ticking exercise which is a business headache. We do mean some form of legislation helping to guarantee that business deals in the food system are conducted fairly.

“A fair and equitable supply chain in the food industry is good for farmers, for processors and retailers; and above all, for consumers. We urge Commissioner Barnier and his colleagues to remain strong on this issue, to take on board our EU-wide examples of unfair trading practices and to quickly develop proposals on an EU legislative approach to curb them.”

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