The deputies and the senators agreed, Wednesday, March 15, during a joint joint committee (CMP), on a version of compromise of the bill of the deputy Frédéric Descrozaille (Renaissance), which modifies on an experimental basis the commercial relations between supermarket chains and their suppliers.
“With this text, deputies and senators agree to rebalance the negotiations between large retailers and suppliers”, tweeted Guillaume Kasbarian (Renaissance), chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee of the National Assembly. The text that the parliamentarians came up with is “irresponsible and inflationary”protests the Employers’ Federation of Retailers (FCD) in a press release.
The FCD regrets that promotions will be capped at 34% for products such as diapers, detergents or shower gels, as is already the case in the food department. This is likely, for the organization, to “hit the French most in difficulty, by increasing the margins of the few giants in the sector for no reason”. “This law will thus have only one purpose: to allow a few large manufacturers, most often foreigners, who hold the vast majority of market shares, to increase their margins, which are already scandalous, in the inflationary situation that we are experiencing”is indignant the FCD.
As for the National Association of Food Industries (ANIA), it salutes the work of parliamentarians to “make it very concrete to ensure fairer remuneration for farmers, fill legal voids that are sources of economic instability for companies” And “rebalance” the relationship between manufacturers and their buyers.
Bridging the “legal limbo”
The bill aims in particular to fill the gap “legal vagueness” in the event of failure of the annual commercial negotiation. This must take place from 1er december to 1er March for products that fill the shelves (Lactel, Fleury Michon, Bonduelle, etc.), excluding private label.
Currently, if companies do not agree on prices, this does not interrupt the contract. This benefits the supermarket, since it can continue for several months to order products from the supplier at the old price, even though the latter may experience high inflation on its production costs.
From now on, on an experimental basis, if the annual commercial negotiation fails, the supplier will be able to interrupt its deliveries if it considers the price paid too low during the notice period for breach of contract.
A “lying poker to the detriment of consumers”
The text resulting from the CMP also presents several modifications made by the senators, including the supervision of promotions on non-food products and the non-negotiability of agricultural raw materials in products sold under private label.
The trial of the supervision of the resale threshold at a loss, which was initially due to expire in April, is extended until 2025 instead of 2026. And the fruit and vegetable sector is excluded from this last device.
For Anne-Catherine Loisier, centrist rapporteur for the Senate, the agreement reached “testifies to the shared observation that the imbalance in the balance of power in trade negotiations leads to unacceptable drifts, which must be corrected”. “Parliament is obliged to intervene, not for pleasure, but (because) players play a game of lying poker that often comes at the expense of consumers, farmers and SMEs”she adds.