The enforcement of new unfair trading practice (UTP) legislation aimed at helping farm producers has been called into question by the Competition and Consumer Protection Agency (CCPC).

The legislation was agreed upon at a European level before Christmas and introduces a number of new trading practices, such as prompt payment within 30 days for agri-food products.

It was assumed that the CCPC would enforce the legislation in Ireland, but the organisation has insisted that the new legislation would be best served by setting up a separate regulator to oversee the regulations.

There needs to be a focus on who should carry out this work

MEP and first vice-president of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness stressed that the Government would now need to act swiftly to decide whether a separate regulator was needed.

“With the CCPC wanting to rule itself out of the implementation of this directive, there needs to be a focus on who should carry out this work,” McGuinness said.

“I hope to be meeting with the CCPC to discuss their concerns about implementation further, but I do not share their concerns that this legislation could see consumers ending up paying more.”

“Claims that grocery markets would become less competitive and that the costs of the directive would inevitably fall to consumers is something I also dispute,” she said.

“The Commission’s impact assessment points out that consumer prices increase at a lower rate in member states which already have legislation banning UTPs than in member states with no legislation.”

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