RGDATA takes aim at EU’s Unfair Trading Practices measures

RGDATA director Tara Buckley says the EU's competition measures are a threat to Irish business
RGDATA director Tara Buckley says the EU's competition measures are a threat to Irish businesses

Irish consumers will face less choice, reduced competition and ultimately higher prices for food if a draft EU measure is implemented, which bans co-operation between independent retailers on joint purchasing of goods and services. That's the outcome predicted by RGDATA, which says competition will be weakened by the measure.

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23 October 2018 | 0

RGDATA is calling on Irish MEPs to resist a new EU proposal which could damage independent grocers. The Business to Business Unfair Trading Practices in the Food Supply Chain recently proposed by the EU Parliament Agriculture Committee would effectively ban the business model which services the independent retail grocery sector in Ireland, according to RGDATA’s Tara Buckley.

The sector currently accounts for over 30% of retail grocery in Ireland. As currently drafted, the measure would prohibit independent retailers from concluding supply agreements with symbol groups or other wholesale alliances.

Tara Buckley, director general of RGDATA, the representative association for 3,500 independent family-owned businesses in the sector, says that this proposed move would seriously undermine the independent retail grocery sector and lead to a market dominated by the international multiple chains.

Banning joint purchasing agreements by independent retailers will also strengthen the already concentrated market position of large suppliers, many of whom wield excessive market power already, according to Buckley.

“Independent, family-owned shops and supermarkets are the heart of Irish communities,” Buckley said. “They support Irish suppliers and ensure that consumers have a range of retail choices and provide an essential counterbalance against the market power of the larger multiples and food suppliers.

“Banning joint purchasing by independent retailers will harm consumers, damage choice and ultimately lead to a more concentrated retail grocery market in Ireland,” she said.

RGDATA is calling on Irish MEPS to resist the proposal and will be urging the Irish government to campaign against the proposal given its hugely harmful impact for the independent retail sector in Ireland.

“Ireland’s membership of the EU has brought many benefits,” Buckley continued. “However this is one proposal which will be absolutely counterproductive in its impact on consumers and SMEs in Ireland. It will lead to less competition, fewer independently-owned grocery shops, less choice and ultimately higher prices for consumers.”

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