WUWM Meets with DG Competition

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April 22, 2009

In December 2008 the European Commission (EC) responded to the worldwide surge in food prices by adopting a Communication on Food Prices in Europe. This communication is designed to provide the European Council by December 2009 with an action programme that facilitates a coordinated EU approach to the food crisis, as well as recommendations to better understand a variety of competitiveness issues currently impacting the European food supply chain. Earlier this month, WUWM was invited to a meeting with EC representatives in DG Competition to provide feedback on that communication, and to discuss issues specific to the involvement of wholesale markets in the food sector. It was the second invitation to promote the needs and interests of the wholesale market sector in Brussels to be accepted by WUWM this year. This particular meeting gave us the opportunity to relate the wholesale market standpoint as regards the current structure and elasticity of the food supply chain, and also to state our position on food prices and food production, as well as retail format diversity and the practices perceived to be affecting the competitive ability of the markets sector. It was also an excellent opportunity to inform of the current role and impact wholesale markets have on the European food chain and provide an analysis of price mechanism and production issues, noting various negative effects stemming from the recently observed food price volatility. In this time of expanding European unity, alongside volatile global food demand and supply developments, it is even more vital that there be effective and efficient functioning within the food supply chain. It is pleasing to see that the Commission is reaching out to all sectors of the food chain and allowing a more diverse range of opinion and feedback to be incorporated into its decision-making processes. Recent developments suggest that independent national reviews are also being increasingly conducted at member-state level. Together these show that there is a clearer understanding of how some past regulations may have been problematic, or even counter-productive, to ensuring competitiveness and long-term stability of food production/supply. Obviously things cannot continue as they now are if Europe is to ensure consumer’s have access to quality affordable food products from an ethical, profitable and competitive food supply chain in the future. WUWM and its member markets are committed to supporting all levels of decision-makers in promoting food supply chain competitiveness. Supporting producers getting a fairer percentage of the returns is as important to this work as promoting the role of wholesale markets in providing a vital alternative channel of distribution. If you would like more information on WUWM and its member markets please visit our website www.wuwm.org. We also welcome you to participate in the upcoming WUWM conference to be held in Prague from 20-22 May. Information and registration to that event is available by visiting: www.wuwm-prague.cz