The European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee has approved new rules against unfair trading practices (UTPs). The new regulations will cover late payments, last minute order cancellations, and late or retroactive changes to contracts and the obligation on the supplier to pay for waste. Member States can also introduce their own stricter rules. The new rules also govern suppliers outside the EU and will give farmers more effective ways to defend themselves from abuses by large operators and guarantee them a fair standard of living.
This legislation will put an end to practices such as late payments and retroactive changes to contracts. If the text is adopted, it will no longer be legal to make payments later than 30 days, in the case of perishables, and 60 days, in the case of non-perishables. Unilateral cancellation of an order of perishable products will also not be possible less than 60 days from the agreed delivery date. Below cost sales will be outlawed unless agreed in advance.
With elections on the horizon, UTPs represent an easy way to win potential voters. Few if any voters support the large supermarkets. Some MEPs however argue that this draft did not go far enough. For instance, it does not prevent below cost selling and buying by large retailers and processors.