Member states must ‘step up to the plate’ on unfair trading practices

Unfair trading practices (UTPs) pose “a serious threat” to farmers in the food supply chain and are “ultimately detrimental to all”, MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan has warned.

His comments come as a new set of draft rules that aim to improve the protection of farmers against UTPs were approved by the EU’s Agriculture Committee on Monday, October 1.

“Implementation will be key on this, given that this is a directive and not a regulation. The onus is very much on the member state to step up to the plate and incorporate this into national legislation,” the Midlands-North West representative stated.

He outlined that unfair trading practices are defined as practices that “deviate” from good commercial conduct and are “contrary” to good faith and fair dealing.

It is anticipated that the EU Commission and the EU Council will reach agreement on the legal text of the UTPs directive before Christmas.

Working together

“Within this supply chain, unfair trading practices often take place to the detriment of the primary producer who is in the weakest position.

We take for granted the high-quality food we enjoy every day. However, in the background, farmers, processors and retailers must work together to ensure this continued supply.

He concluded by highlighting that the food supply chain is particularly vulnerable to unfair trading practices due to large differences in bargaining power.