Tánaiste not objecting to code of conduct

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Tánaiste Mary Coughlan has said that retailers making a profit should give a "fair return" to suppliers

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11 June 2009 | 0

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Last month it was reported that the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan TD told the Dáil she is examining proposals for a possible code of conduct to govern the relationship between retailers and suppliers. Coughlan said that any retailer that is making a profit “should grant price reductions to consumers as well as giving a fair return to suppliers”.

In a statement to ShelfLife, she said that while such contracts are “essentially matters for agreement by the parties themselves,” there are provisions in competition law that prohibit “certain anti-competitive practices,” including: “price-fixing, applying dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage…abusing a dominant position, requesting ‘hello’ money, and imposing resale price maintenance.”

The Tánaiste affirmed that she is “aware of suggestions” for a code of conduct and pointed out that legislation is already being prepared to make changes to current competition law, following a review carried out in 2008. Coughlan said she would “have no objection in principle to considering any concrete proposals in relation to the way competition law impacts on the relationships between businesses.

However, any such proposals would need to address how such a code would operate in practice, particularly in terms of enforcing any commitments under the code in instances where parties may not be prepared to give evidence to the relevant enforcement body.”

The Tánaiste has urged suppliers who believe they are being treated “in an anti-competitive manner” to report it to the Competition Authority (CA). According to her department, she is currently considering a new report by the CA on the retail import/distribution sector.

 

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