Europe 1 with AFP 11:51 am, September 27, 2023

The bill intended to fight inflation by advancing trade negotiations between manufacturers and distributors "to pass on as quickly as possible the reductions" in price will be presented this Wednesday in the Council of Ministers, confirmed the Ministry of Economy on Tuesday. In the meantime, will the fruit of these debates really be effective?

The government's objective is clear: it wants to rush negotiations with manufacturers and distributors to have price reductions on the shelves in view of the decrease in the prices of certain raw materials.

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To do this, a bill is presented this Wednesday to the Council of Ministers to bring forward the date of the conclusion of negotiations to January 15, 2024, instead of March 1. It will be presented to the National Assembly.

Every year between December and 1 March, supermarkets negotiate with their agro-industrial suppliers the conditions of sale of their production, which will then be sold on their shelves. But this year the government would like the contracts to be concluded earlier in early 2024, so that the new tariffs — if possible lower — apply as soon as possible.

Negotiation results difficult to anticipate

In the columns of Ouest-France, the president and CEO of the Institut de liaisons des entreprises de consommation (Ilec), Richard Panquiault, argues that manufacturers will put rates up to benefit from a margin of negotiation. According to him, he expects more increases than price decreases on the shelves. "But that remains to be seen. In the last year and a half, everything has increased. Today, this is no longer the case. Today, you have things going down, things going up. I don't know where the balance of all this will be," he details in the daily.

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Also questioned by Ouest-France, Jean-Philippe André, president of the National Association of Food Industries (Ania), which represents agri-food manufacturers, is waiting to see the text of the bill. For him, it is impossible to anticipate the outcome of the negotiations. "We will put on the table the market circumstances that will be on the rise," he adds.

This bill targets 75 of the largest manufacturers, representing more than 50% of the market share. The ministry stressed that "these provisions will apply to products intended for the French market, regardless of where the central purchasing will be based". Bercy wants to be intransigent with these industrialists. "We announced this bill so that no one tells us, when this bill will be definitively voted: we do not have time," says Ouest-France Bercy.