Fair Food Trading in the EU – have your say

Who’s got the power in the food system? A process is in motion to better understand and potentially change power relations and unfair trading practices in the production, distribution and consumption of food in the EU. You can contribute. For more, read on…

On 20 June Commissioner Phil Hogan announced an Incept Impact Assessment.  This is part of a process which may lead to legislation in early 2018 on what are called unfair trading practices (UTPs).

According to information provided by the European Parliament in June, “the EU Commission would soon launch a roughly twelve weeks long impact assessment on the future EU rules to tackle unfair trading practices (UTPs) in the food supply chain, which would be followed by at least twelve weeks long public consultation.”

The Incept Impact Assessment is a Commission initiative “to improve the governance of the food supply chain with regard to unfair trading practices, one rule regarding producer cooperation and market transparency.”

Unfair trading practices (UTPs), the Assessment states “can be defined as practices which grossly deviate from good commercial conduct, are contrary to good faith and fair dealing and are unilaterally imposed by one trading partner on its counterparty.”

The Assessment also points out that “UTPs have given rise to specific legislation – including different enforcement modalities – being introduced in more than 20 EU Member States as well as various voluntary initiatives at national and European level.”

A group has been established – The Agricultural Markets Task Force (AMTF) – to report to the Commission on ways to  improve the position of farmers in the food supply chain. Its November 2016 report suggested that regulatory changes in the areas of unfair trading practices, market transparency and possibilities of farmers to cooperate may lead to improvements strengthening the position of farmers in the chain.

Timelines

  • Deadline for feedback to the incept impact assessment: 22 August
    • Specification: max. 4000 characters for written feedback; attachment of file(s?) less than 5mb of “research or findings that support your ideas” possible; can be given anonymously
  • A different part of the overall assessment is a public consultation via a questionnaire. The English version of the questionnaire might be available already by the end of this month [July].
  • Deadline for public consultation via questionnaire: 12 weeks after questionnaire available in all EU languages [likely beginning of September]

Relevant recent EU Documents

Recent Agriculture Markets Task Force documents are all here

September 2016 Report of the European Economic and Social Committee of 30 September 2016 on unfair business-to-business trading practices in the food supply chain

June 2016 European Parliament resolution on unfair trading practices in the food supply chain

January 2016 Report from the European Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on unfair business-to-business trading practices in the food supply chain

March 2016 Opinion of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development on unfair trading practices in the food supply chain,

Further reading

Who’s Got the Power? Tackling imbalances in agricultural supply chains (Fair Trade Advocacy Office)

Farmers’ share of food chain value added (Alan Matthews 2015)

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