Three major distributors, Carrefour, Système U and Intermarché, were fined more than 4 million euros in administrative fines for “ non-compliance with the rules ” during the 2019 commercial negotiations with suppliers to the food industry. . These are the first sanctions since the entry into force of the Egalim law or "Food law", announced the DGCCRF.
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Carrefour received the heaviest fine, with 2.93 million euros in penalties, against 1.14 for System U and 211,000 euros in fines for Intermarché. " The rule setting a deadline of March 1 for the signing of annual agreements had not been respected for a significant number of suppliers, " said the Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Prevention. " The amount of the penalties is proportional to the number and extent of the delays, as well as to the forecast turnover concerned ".
5500 checks according to the DGCCRF
Commercial negotiations between distributors, farmers and manufacturers are held from mid-October to the end of February and are to establish the prices of the products placed on the shelves for the coming year. However, “ the fact of not having signed the agreement within the time allowed is likely to strengthen the balance of power in favor of the distributor, ” notes the DGCCRF, which claims some “ 5,500 checks on the application of the new rules governing promotions ” , provided for under the Egalim law, or "Food law".
Promulgated in October 2018, this law aims in particular to get out of a domino effect caused by the price war between the four big distributors in France: during these negotiations, they demand ever lower prices from their suppliers. 'food industry. These in turn buy the agricultural raw material as cheaply as possible from the peasants. A year ago, the government insisted on " the persistence of very questionable practices ", especially in the mass distribution, during trade negotiations.
The Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire had then warned that Bercy would ensure the " rigor of the controls carried out " at the distributors, and had called to " punish the failings ". " The negotiations which will end on March 1, 2020 will be, even more than the previous ones, an indicator of the will of the actors to play the game of the reform ", for its part warned the DGCCRF in its press release.
Last October, the Egalim law had been harshly criticized by the consumer association UFC-Que Choisir and by the Confédération paysanne, who estimated that a year after its entry into force, " the rebalancing of trade negotiations long awaited by farmers and promoted by law did not take place ”. Joined by AFP, the Carrefour group was unable to react immediately. The Système U and Intermarché groups could not be reached.