Michael Creed, The Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, has announced the opening of a public consultation process on the transposition of the EU’s Unfair Trading Practices (UTP) Directive into Irish law.

The directive is aimed at business-to-business relationships in the food supply chain.

The directive is described as “one of a number of initiatives at EU level aimed at improving the transparency and fairness of the food supply chain”.

The purpose of the directive is to “protect weaker suppliers against UTPs by stronger buyers in the food supply chain”.

In a statement, Minister Creed’s department explained that the directive covers only agricultural and food products and establishes turnover-based categories of operators according to which protection is afforded.

The minister commented: “I welcome this legislation. It is a significant step towards ensuring more fairness in the food chain for those producers who are particularly vulnerable to UTPs.

“It provides protection for farmers and small and mid-range businesses who have the least bargaining power and are least able to address UTPs without negative effects on their economic viability,” he added.

The department is now inviting submissions to the consultation process on the transposition of the directive. The department says that the consultation is an “opportunity for all interested groups and individuals to have their say as to how the directive should be transposed”.

The closing date for the consultation is December 13.

“This is your opportunity to have your say and I urge all interested groups and individuals to contribute to the public consultation,” the minister highlighted.

In the same statement, the minister also said that his officials, as well as the chairperson of the Beef Market Taskforce, Michael Dowling, were continuing to consult with stakeholders on ways to progress “key elements” of the Beef Sector Agreement, which included the transposition of the UTP Directive.