EU Commissioner Informs Bulgarian MEP about EC Steps against Unfair Trading Practices of Retail Chains
European Union Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier has informed Bulgarian socialist MEP Ivaylo Kalfin that the EC has started gathering evidence of unfair practices of major retail chains.
Barnier's statement, as cited by the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency (BTA), came in response to a request of Kalfin from early March 2013 that the EC take steps in connection with the alert of the Made in Bulgaria Union that retail chains in the country offered unprofitable terms to producers and suppliers which often resulted in bankruptcies.
Kalfin cited a report of the Made in Bulgaria Union indicating that less than 20% of the items sold in major retail chains were Bulgarian, the main reason for the imbalance being unfair trading practices.
Kalfin emphasized that importers of food products were offered trade discounts amounting to 5%-15%, compared to trade discounts of 20-60% for Bulgarian producers, adding that the practice technically deprived small producers of more than 50% of their profit.
Responding to Kalfin, Barnier noted that the EC had launched steps to assess the magnitude of unfair trading practices, gather evidence on their effect on the economy, and offer possible solutions.
Barnier assured that the EC was fully aware of the unfair trading practices in the food supply chain and their potential harmful impact on economically dependent trading partners and small enterprises in particular.
He made clear that the ongoing probe devoted special attention to the impact of these practices on the smaller players on the market.
Barnier informed that the EC report would take into account a range of possible solutions, starting from self-regulation to the creation of EU legislation regulating the terms of supplies to major retail chains.
He noted that the EC had also launched a public procurement procedure for a study on the economic impact of modern retail on choice and innovation in the EU food sector.
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