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Trade and Industry written question – answered on 1st May 2002.

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Photo of Andrew Turner Andrew Turner Conservative, Isle of Wight

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry

(1) if she will make a statement on how each of the points in the OFT's letter of remedy on supermarket/supplier relations is met in the code of practice issued in October 2001;

(2) when the code of practice on supermarket relations with suppliers was issued; and on what dates between the publication of the Competition Commission's report on the subject and the issuing of codes her Ministers and officials met (a) representatives of supermarkets and (b) representatives of agricultural and horticultural producers;

(3) what consultation took place with (a) consumers' representatives and (b) members of the public on the code of practice on supermarket/supplier relations; whether a draft code was issued; and how many representations she received on the code (i) before and (ii) after its publication.

Photo of Miss Melanie Johnson Miss Melanie Johnson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry announced on 18 December 2001 that, following an adverse report by the Competition Commission under the Fair Trading Act 1973, she had accepted undertakings from the four main supermarket chains that they would abide by a Code of Practice concerning their relations with their suppliers.

Normally undertakings are negotiated by the Director General of Fair Trading with the parties who will be asked to sign them; there is no third party involvement. Exceptionally, at the recommendation of the Competition Commission, supplier organisations were in this case given the opportunity to comment on a draft.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry received around 35 representations on the Code before it was issued on 18 December, and around five afterwards.

The Code came into force on 17 March 2002. The Director General of Fair Trading will monitor the operation of the Code.

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