NFU President To Call For European GCA To Tackle Unfair Trading Practices

The National Farmers Union is calling for the establishment of a European equivalent of the UK’s Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) to help tackle unfair trading practices abroad.

Speak alongside the GCA Christine Tacon at a food supply chain seminar hosted by the European political group European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) in Brussels, NFU President Meurig Raymond Raymond will emphasise the need for British farmers to have the same kind of protection they enjoy domestically when they trade abroad.

He will reiterate that open and fair access to European markets remain a high priority for the wider UK rural economy, an issue that will become even more important in negotiations on the UK’s future outside the EU.

In his address to the seminar Raymond will say: “As well as strong regulation at a European level we wish to see an independent enforcement office, such as the GCA introduced. I know there are many who fear that this will lead to overzealous European regulation – but implemented in a proper way this will give producers the security and confidence they so badly need.

“The purpose of this is to give suppliers the confidence to highlight unfair trading practices in a confidential way. This confidentiality is crucial as submitting evidence on unfair trading practices can be very damaging for a supplier, if this information is within the public domain. British farmers, like many across Europe want to be competitive and wish to operate on a global stage.

“The UK farming unions were disappointed that President Juncker failed to mention this vital issue in his State of the European Union last week. This is a clear example of an area where European oversight is badly needed and we urge the Commission to come forward with legislation providing meaningful protection for Europe’s farmers and shoppers.”

NAM Implications:
  • Where at: Having worked well in the UK, one of the world’s toughest supplier-retailer markets, the GCA model can transfer to other geographies, albeit conducted in significantly different cultural environments. At the very least it can provide a draft template that could help in leap-frogging off-putting initial stages
  • Where headed: Hopefully the potential positive commercial benefits will over-ride any tendency to excessive bureaucracy
  • Effect on you: Aimed at the farming community and their trading relationships initially, the GCA idea would hopefully embrace all aspects of supplier-retailer relationships
  • Action: As always, based on UK experience, best to anticipate inevitable changes by encouraging colleagues to have the confidence to highlight unfair trading practices in a confidential way, a vital ingredient in the process