A step closer to fairness in the supply chain – IFOAM EU’s position on unfair trading practices and a closer look at the legislative context

IFOAM EU published its position paper on Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs) ahead of the meeting of the Special Committee on Agriculture (SCA) of 10 September. IFOAM EU believes that tackling UTPs at EU level is a first welcome step towards a fairer agri-food system.

However, the Commission proposal can be improved:

  • Currently, the directive covers UTPs imposed by non-SME buyers to SME suppliers. IFOAM EU advocates for an extension of the scope, i.e. that the directive should apply to all actors, regardless of size, without increasing the administrative burden;
  • The current proposal only prohibits a restricted list of UTPs. IFOAM EU asks that the proposal includes a general definition of UTPs together with an outright ban of these practices. Also, the list of prohibited UTPs should be longer;
  • The mechanism of cooperation between competent authorities should be strengthened, especially when it comes to cross-border UTPs.

The proposal currently covers non-EU suppliers. For the sake of fairness in the supply chain and to protect EU suppliers, IFOAM EU believes that non-EU suppliers should remain included.

The most contentious issue within the SCA meeting was the extension of the scope in terms of actors. No compromise has been found yet. The next SCA meeting will take place on 17 September, after which the position of the Council will be clearer.

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