By using this website, you consent to our use of cookies. For more information on cookies see our privacy policy page.

Text Size: a a
HomeA-Z IndexSubscribe/RSS Contact Us Twitter logo small white bird

Current Public Consultations

A public consultation is now underway in respect of a review of management arrangements for the Irish Sea mussel seed fishery.  The review is to examine the current management arrangements for the fishery and consider changes that could better support productivity and sustainability.  The purpose of the public consultation is to seek the views of those with an interest in the fishery regarding the management arrangements.  The information received during the public consultation will inform policy decisions on the management arrangements for the fishery.

For more information regarding the consultation please visit the following link:

http://www.fishingnet.ie/sea-fisheriesinnaturaareas/currentconsultation/irishseamusselseedfishery/

DAFM - ‘Ag-Climatise’ – A Draft National Climate & Air Roadmap for the Agriculture Sector to 2030 and Beyond – Public Consultation

The importance of addressing climate change and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has been reflected in the recent all-of-Government Climate Action Plan 2019 to tackle Climate Breakdown, which has clearly set out the ambition for Ireland. The agricultural sector needs to respond and play its part in the transition to a low carbon, climate resilient economy and society for the future, while also taking advantage of the opportunities that this challenge presents. The 10% to 15% emissions reduction target for agriculture in the All-of-Government Climate Action plan, translates to a reduction in emissions from 20.2 Mt CO2eq in 2017 to between 17.5 and 19 Mt CO2eq by 2030. Furthermore, this plan also requires agriculture to enhance CO2 removals from the landscape by at least 26.8 Mt CO2eq and contribute to the development of sustainable decarbonised energy systems. In terms of our national targets to reduce GHG emissions; Ireland cannot achieve its target without the agricultural sector delivering its contribution

‘Ag-Climatise’ is a public consultation document aimed at translating our overall sectoral ambitions into more detailed actions and targets for delivery over the coming years. The roadmap proposes ambitious and challenging actions which will require not only ongoing concerted effort, but a step-up right across the sector from primary producer through to the processor.

How to get involved?

A consultation process is now open, and you are invited to participate in this public consultation.

The consultation is composed of two elements, as follows:

  1. The Ag Climatise roadmap ‘Ag-Climatise’ – A Draft National Climate & Air Roadmap for the Agriculture Sector to 2030 and Beyond – Public Consultation (pdf 1,048Kb)      which sets the scene and poses a number of questions.    
  2. An online survey to facilitate a response to the questions. Ag-Climatise Survey. The survey will take about 35 minutes to  complete.

Written comments are also welcome by email to Agclimatise@agriculture.gov.ie and also by post to:

Climate & Air Roadmap Consultation
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine,
Climate Change & Bioenergy Policy Division
Grattan Business Centre,
Dublin road,
Portlaoise,
Co. Laois
Ireland
R32 K857

The consultation will end on Friday 10th January 2020 at 12pm. 

 

Freedom of Information

All submissions and comments submitted to the Department for this purpose are subject to release under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2014 and the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007- 2014. Submissions are also subject to Data Protection legislation. Personal, confidential or commercially sensitive information should not be included in your submission and it will be presumed that all information contained in your submission is releasable under the Freedom of Information Act 2014.

 Data Protection

Please note that if you make a submission you are agreeing for it to be published in accordance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR EU 2016/679), the Data Protection Acts 1988-2018, the Freedom of Information Act 2014 and the DPER Consultation Principles and Guidance.

 Privacy Statement

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy and employs appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect your information from unauthorised access. The Department will not process your personal data for any purpose other than that for which they were collected. Personal data may be exchanged with other Government Departments, local authorities, agencies under the aegis of the Department, or other public bodies, in certain circumstances where this is provided for by law.

The Department will only retain your personal data for as long as it is necessary for the purposes for which they were collected and subsequently processed. When the business need to retain this information has expired, it will be examined with a view to destroying the personal data as soon as possible, and in line with Department policy. Further information on Data Protection can be found on our website at: https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/dataprotection/informationondataprotection

 

Added 17.10.19

THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD & THE MARINE

INVITES SUBMISSIONS TO A PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON THE TRANSPOSITION OF

DIRECTIVE (EU) 2019/633 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL OF 17 APRIL 2019

ON UNFAIR TRADING PRACTICES IN BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS

IN THE AGRICULTURAL AND FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN.

EU Directive 2019/633 on unfair trading practices in business to business relationships in the agricultural and food supply chain (the Directive) entered into force on 30 April 2019. EU Law requires that the Directive must be transposed into national law by 1 May 2021 and will apply in national law no later than from 1 November 2021 for new contracts. Any existing contracts at the time of publication must be brought into compliance within 12 months of the date of publication of the measures transposing the Directive.

Please note that this consultation document does not cover all aspects of the Directive and therefore should be read in conjunction with the Directive; a link is provided here for your convenience.

1. Key Aspects of the Directive

The Directive:

  • Is designed to protect weaker suppliers against unfair trading practises (UTPs) by stronger buyers in the food supply chain
  • covers UTPs in relation to the sales of agricultural and food products e. primary agricultural products as listed in Annex 1 to the TFEU and products not listed but processed for use as food using products listed in that Annex.
  • provides for protections against up to 16 specific UTPs (10 prohibited UTPs and 6 prohibited unless agreed between both parties beforehand, known as “black” and “grey” UTPs respectively)
  • establishes annual turnover based categories of operators according to which protection is afforded, subject to a maximum turnover of €350m.
  • provides for minimum enforcement power, and the designation of an Enforcement Authority
  • allows MS to promote the voluntary use of effective and independent alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as mediation
  • follows minimum harmonisation approach and therefore provides a minimum Union standard of protection, but allows MS to maintain or introduce stricter rules aimed at combating UTPs that are not within the scope of the Directive
  • provides for coordination between Member State authorities
  • also covers certain services in relation to the sale of agri-food products

Suppliers with an annual turnover of greater than €350m are not protected under the Directive

The Directive does not address issues of price negotiation or determination.

Scope (Article 1)

The Commission Explanatory Note on the UTP Directive (link here) outlines the protection offered along the agri-food supply chain depending on the relative size of operators. It uses a “step approach” based on turnover figures as a proxy that reflects the different bargaining powers of suppliers and buyers. This approach protects a supplier from unfair trading practises engaged in by an economically stronger buyer. The Directive sets out specific categories of supplier and buyer turnover, providing protection for suppliers who are sufficiently smaller in turnover from the buyer in question, e.g. a supplier with less than €2m turnover is protected against buyers with a turnover exceeding €2m; smaller suppliers with a turnover exceeding €2m and not exceeding €10m are protected against buyers with a turnover higher than €10m. The protective effect covers suppliers having turnovers of up to €350m.

 

Annual Turnover Categories Covered                                      Not Covered as Suppliers

Added 17.10.19

Notwithstanding the above, the Directive also applies to sales of agricultural and food products by suppliers which have an annual turnover not exceeding €350m to all buyers which are public authorities.

 

Prohibited Trading Practices (Article 3)

The Commission Explanatory Note on the UTP Directive explains that there are 10 UTPs, which are prohibited in Member States in all circumstances, generally referred to as “black” UTPs, and 6 UTPs, which are prohibited unless the parties agree clearly and in an unambiguous manner beforehand, these are generally referred to as “grey” UTPs.

The EU Commission summarises the “black” and “grey” UTPs as follows:

Black UTPs:

1. Payments later than 30 days for perishable agricultural and food products

2. Payment later than 60 days for other agri-food products

3. Short-notice cancellations of perishable agri-food products

4. Unilateral contract changes by the buyer

5. Money not related to a specific transaction

6. Risk of loss and deterioration transferred to the supplier

7. Refusal of a written confirmation of a supply agreement by the buyer, despite request of the supplier

8. Misuse of trade secrets by the buyer

9. Commercial retaliation by the buyer

10. Transferring the costs of examining customer complaints to the supplier

Grey UTPs:

11. The buyer returns unsold products to the supplier without paying for those unsold products

12. Payment by the supplier for stocking, display and listing

13. Payment by the supplier for promotion

14. Payment by the supplier for marketing

15. Payment by the supplier for advertising

16. Payment by the supplier for staff of the buyer, fitting out premises

Enforcement Authority (Articles 4 to 8)

The Directive requires the designation of an enforcement authority, which can be an existing or a new authority. The authority must be invested with the following powers:

  • Power to act either on their own initiative or on the basis of a complaint
  • Power to investigate
  • Power to terminate an infringement
  • Power to levy fines and impose other penalties
  • Power to publish decisions

While it is for the enforcement authorities to decide how they will use these powers in the individual cases that they investigate, the Directive allows Member States to promote the use of effective and independent alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as mediation, with a view to the settlement of disputes between suppliers and buyers.

 

2. Transposition of the Directive

The UTP Directive must be transposed into national law by 1 May 2021.

The Directive allows Member States to go further than the mandatory minimum duties and powers set out in the UTP Directive itself.  However, for any extra protections to be provided, Irish law requires either an EU Law (such as an EU Directive) or a primary Irish Act to give a Statutory Instrument (SI) the authority to provide those extra protections. Irish law only permits the Minister to draft a SI to give effect to solely those powers set out in the UTP Directive itself.

As a result, any further powers and protections, beyond those set out in the UTP Directive itself, would require primary legislation to be passed by the Oireachtas, which may be challenging to complete ahead of the deadline for transposition of the Directive.  

In order to meet the deadline for transposition, the Directive could be transposed directly into Irish law by way of statutory instrument under the 1972 EC Act and could establish an enforcement authority, which can be an existing one or an independent authority. Such a statutory instrument, on its own, could not add additional powers or widen the scope beyond the exact terms of the Directive.

Further powers and protections could be added by way of primary legislation, at a later date following the transposition of the UTP Directive. Such powers or protections could include, but are not limited to, expanding the powers of the Enforcement Authority, expanding the scope of the Directive, adding to the list of “black” or “grey” unfair trading practices or moving UTPs from the “grey” list to the “black” list.

 

3. Grocery Goods Regulations

In 2016, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation signed into law an initial set of regulations to regulate certain practices in the grocery goods sector. The regulations were introduced to rebalance commercial relationships between large supermarkets and wholesalers with an annual worldwide turnover of greater than €50 million and their direct suppliers who supply them with grocery goods. The regulations are limited to direct suppliers who have a written contractual relationship with a retailer or wholesaler and not to any other grocery goods undertaking as defined in Section 63A of the Consumer Protection Act 2007. The regulations do not apply to the supply of raw materials in the agriculture sector to processors (for instance supply of milk to creameries or animals or meat to processors) or animal feed.  

SI No. 35 of 2016 (Consumer Protection Act 2007 (Grocery Goods Undertakings) Regulations 2016 entered into force on 30 April 2016. Should the transposition of the Unfair Trading Practices Directive result in the need for a review of the Grocery Goods Regulations, this will be done by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

Relevant links to the regulations and guidelines are included below for convenience. 

SI 35/2016 Consumer Protection Act, 2007 (Grocery Goods Undertakings) Regulations 2016

SI 35/2016 - Guidelines

 

4. Consultation

Views on the transposition of EU Directive 2019/633 are now sought from interested parties.

Submissions should be marked “EU Directive on UTPs in the Food Supply Chain” and can either be e-mailed to UTPViews@agriculture.gov.ie or sent in hard copy to Food Industry Development Division, 6W, Agriculture House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2, D02 WK12, no later than close of business on Friday 13 December 2019.

The following are questions you may wish to consider when making your submission. This is not an exhaustive list and you may submit views on any aspect of the Directive.

Discretionary elements of the Directive

  • There is discretion* in the Directive to allow Member States maintain current law in this area or to include stricter rules when transposing the Directive. Should this discretion be exercised? If you think it should, in what area, how, and what do you consider should be included?

*Relevant Articles in the Directive:

Article 3.1(b) – the buyer cancels orders of perishable agricultural and food products at such short notice that a supplier cannot reasonably be expected to find an alternative means of commercialising or using those products; notice of less than 30 days shall always be considered as short notice; Member States may set periods shorter than 30 days for specific sectors in duly justified cases;”

Article 7 –Without prejudice to the right of suppliers to submit complaints under Article 5, and the powers of enforcement authorities under Article 6, Member States may promote the voluntary use of effective and independent alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as mediation, with a view to the settlement of disputes between suppliers and buyers regarding the use of unfair trading practices by the buyer.”

Article 9 –1. With a view to ensuring a higher level of protection, Member States may maintain or introduce stricter rules aimed at combating unfair trading practices than those laid down by this Directive, provided that such national rules are compatible with the rules on the functioning of the internal market. 2.This Directive shall be without prejudice to national rules aimed at combating unfair trading practices that are not within the scope of this Directive, provided that such rules are compatible with the rules on the functioning of the internal market.”

Enforcement Authority

  • Member States are required to designate an Enforcement Authority or Enforcement Authorities (either new or existing) to enforce the prohibitions laid down in the Directive. What form do you consider this authority should take? For example, should this be a new body or an existing body that is enhanced; should a type of hybrid approach be considered (e.g. one body for enforcement only, another for information/advice/mediation/arbitration); should the option of a self-funding body funded by a levy on buyers be considered. Is there a requirement for an independent regulator?

Practical Implications

  • As a supplier or as a buyer, what are the practical implications for your business as a result of this Directive?  In this regard you may wish to see the text of correspondence from the EU Commission in which some clarifications are provided in response to queries by the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine on certain aspects of the Directive. Please click to view EU Commission correspondence (pdf 42Kb)            

Broader Considerations

  • Are there any broader considerations you wish to highlight, for example, in relation to resources, value for money etc?  

The links below are provided for your information and convenience:

DIRECTIVE (EU) 2019/633 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 17 April 2019 on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the agricultural and food supply chain

EU Commission publication on Directive (EU) 2019/633

EU Commission correspondence (pdf 42Kb)            

 

5. Freedom of Information Act

Your attention is drawn to the fact that information provided to the Department may be disclosed in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2014. Therefore, should you consider that any information you provide is commercially sensitive, please identify same, and specify the reason for its sensitivity. The Department will consult with you regarding information identified by you as sensitive before deciding on any Freedom of Information request. Any personal information, which you volunteer to this Department, will be treated with the highest standards of security and confidentiality, strictly in accordance with the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003.

 

6. General Data Protection Regulations

In compliance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) this Department will not retain, store nor keep any personal data supplied beyond the necessary timeframe required for transposition of the Directive.  All personal data will be destroyed in accordance with the GDPR Regulations.

 

7. Publication of Submissions

The Department may also decide to place any submissions received by it on the Department’s website. A decision on any such placement may occur without prior consultation with respondents to this process. Thus, it is in the interests of respondents to highlight, in their submissions, any commercially sensitive or confidential information at the time of submission.

If you require further information, please contact Food Industry Development Division (FIDD) of this Department at the following email address:

UTPViews@agriculture.gov.ie 

 

Food Industry Development Division

  October 2019