Unfair trade discussions to intensify this week

Discussions in the European Parliament on legislation to stop Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs) in the food supply chain will intensify this week, according to Mairead McGuinness MEP.

The first Vice-President of the European Parliament outlined that some members of Parliament are demanding more debate and discussion about the proposal, with other MEPs urging that there be no delay in the process.

At stake is whether the Parliament will give the green light to representatives of the agri committee to proceed with negotiations with the Commission and Council on the legislation, or refer the draft report on the issue back to Parliament for debate and possible amendment.

McGuinness, who has led on the need for action to address UTPs in the food supply chain, said some colleagues believe it’s better to have a full debate on the legislation in Parliament, while others may be using a procedural issue to delay and weaken the legislation.

On October 1, the Parliament’s Agriculture Committee voted through amendments to legislation, with proposals from the Internal Market on consumer protection, environment, food safety, public health and development of committees taken on board.

The Agriculture Committee supported the proposal to go directly to negotiations with the Council and Commission, and this is provided for in the rules of procedure without further debate.

Commenting on the draft report, McGuinness said the scope of the legislation has been broadened to include all suppliers and buyers in the food supply chain, reflecting the interdependency in the chain and the view that, regardless of size, all suppliers are susceptible to UTPs.

“Today 20 Member States have legislation in place to tackle imbalances in the food chain and, in all cases, there is no differentiation between SMEs and large stakeholders,” she concluded.