EuroCommerce: UTP Directive 'Shifts Balance Of Power' To Manufacturers
EuroCommerce, the group that represents the retail and wholesale sector in Europe, has warned that the UTP Directive, which was agreed today, following trilogue negotiations between the European Parliament, the Council, and the Commission, will 'shift the balance of power to food manufacturers'.
The new European law will cover agricultural and food products traded in the food supply chain, and it will introduce a ban on 16 unfair trading practices imposed in the supply chain, and place restrictions on others.
“Today's agreement paves the way for a first-time EU law which provides significant protection for all EU farmers [and] their organisations, as well as small and mid-range businesses,” commented Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development.
“They will now be protected against all bigger operators acting unfairly and outside the rules. I would like to express my appreciation to all the negotiators, whose constructive approach and hard work ensured today's political agreement. I am particularly pleased that the agreement was achieved within a remarkably short eight months of the proposal's presentation by the Commission,” added Hogan.
Responding to the legislation, however, EuroCommerce noted that the measures will 'impose new administrative burdens and legal uncertainty on retailers' and impact both consumers and retailer supply chains.
“The amendments agreed today are claimed to be protecting the weak against the strong,” commented Christian Verschueren, EuroCommerce director general.
“This is, frankly, disingenuous. It skews the market yet further in favour of national brands, who already have considerable power. In countries like Ireland, Belgium and Sweden, the upper limit [...] now agreed covers almost all manufacturers. This means all retailers, including small shops, will come under more pressure from manufacturers who will be able to impose higher prices,” added Verschueren.
He added, “[The amendments] fly in the face of the Commission’s own impact assessment of the harm that extending the scope beyond farmers and small suppliers would do. They also ignore entirely the concerns expressed by BEUC on behalf of consumers.”
EuroCommerce described the 16 planned restrictions as an 'unprecedented intervention' in the free market, saying that they remove rights from retailers and wholesalers and give 'additional power' to manufacturers.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.