Beefed-up fair trading rules approved by EU Ag Committee

The European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee endorsed new rules to better protect farmers against buyers’ unfair trading practices earlier today (Wednesday, January 23).

The rules had been agreed by parliament and the European Council’s negotiators on December 19.

Under the strengthened regulations, specific practices are set to be prohibited such as: late payments; order cancellations; unilateral changes to contracts; ‘hello money’; misuse of commercial information; and retaliation or threats to respond commercially against the supplier.

The provisionally-agreed rules were given a go-ahead in the Parliament’s Agriculture Committee by 38 votes in favour to four against, with two abstentions.

The vote follows the approval of the deal in the Council’s Special Committee on Agriculture (SCA) on Monday, January 14.

Commenting on the approval, rapporteur and chief Parliament’s negotiator Paolo De Castro said:

After the unanimous vote in the SCA, the Agriculture Committee has today taken another step towards finalising the process of adoption of this extremely important legislation that will strengthen farmers and introduce more fairness and transparency into the agri-food supply chain.

“The next step is the plenary vote and we are confident that the new EU law could be signed and published in the EU’s Official Journal already by the end of March this year, so that our farming communities can benefit from its provisions as soon as possible,” De Castro added.

The provisionally agreed text now needs the Parliament’s final approval before it can be formally rubber-stamped by the council.

The parliament as a whole is expected to vote on the draft directive during its March 11-14 plenary session in Strasbourg.