July 7, 2020

The Government approves the reform of the Food Chain Law and hopes to send it to Congress in the fall


Madrid

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The Council of Ministers of this Tuesday has made a special gap to the primary sector, both the field and the Spanish fishing fleet. In this sense, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Luis Planas, has informed of the approval of the preliminary draft Law for the Reform of the Food Chain Law that transposes the european directive 2019/633 and a royal decree that adapts other European legislation – directive 2017/159 – on the working conditions of crew members on fishing vessels.

Planas stressed that, in the case of the Food Chain reform, it expects send the final bill next fall once Competition, the Council of State and the Social Economic Council (CES) send their respective reports. In this sense, the head of Agriculture has highlighted that the Food Chain has three main problems: «the imbalance in the formation of prices, since instead of forming from the bottom up, it is done from the top down» and that he sees it as a European phenomenon; as well as the “Lack of transparency” in this field and the “weakness” farmers and ranchers when negotiating against the rest of the links in the chain such as distribution or industry.

The still preliminary draft Law, which according to Planas is the “second phase” after the royal decree that already reformed the Chain Law in full wave of protests in the agricultural and livestock sector in February. In this sense, he stressed that when this standard is approved it will acquire a European dimension and that modifications such as “Expansion of the list of products covered” of the Law that will also introduce the elaborated ones.

Regarding the contracts, Planas added that if the royal decree made them mandatory in all transactions between producer and another link in the chain plus of which the production costs will be recorded, the future bill introduces a greater number of assumptions and a greater content to include in the contracts.

«We expanded the number of practices considered unfair in a double sense: the black list or practices that are in any case prohibited and the gray list, which can be tolerated insofar as its content is a contractual reflection », Planas explained, who also added that the project sent to Congress will also adapt the sanction system to European legislation.

In this line, the Food Information and Control Agency (AICA) acquire the quality of national authority of reference to European effects in matters of inspection and sanctioning. “Aica is the central element that coordinates the control institutions of the autonomous communities, and when a transaction occurs in different territories of Spain, it also adds inspection and sanctioning powers,” Planas has specified that on several occasions he recalled that part of the competitions are autonomous if the operations take place in the same territory.

On the other hand, Planas has also highlighted the approval of the royal decree that transposes directive 2017 / 159- on the working conditions of the crew on Spanish fishing vessels. Specifically, the rule modifies article 8 of the Workers’ Statute on written contracts for crew members, adding the repatriation right or insurance to your country of origin in the event that this crew member is in a third country or a fishing ground. It also affects, the Minister of Agriculture has pointed out, in aspects such as habitability, safety and energy efficiency of boats.

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