Written Answers. - Grocery Industry.

Michael Ring

Question:

173 Mr. Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the plans she has to introduce an amendment to the Restrictive Practices (Groceries) Order, 1987, following the report from the Competition and Mergers Review Group; the further plans she has to remove the ban on below cost selling; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20993/00]

Denis Naughten

Question:

214 Mr. Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment when she will make a decision on the Restrictive Practices (Groceries) Order, 1987; the plans she has to remove the order; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20357/00]

John Perry

Question:

220 Mr. Perry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment when she will be concluding her review of the Restrictive Practices (Groceries) Order, 1987; if, pending the outcome of her review, she will give an indication of her intentions in regard to the order in view of the huge uncertainty that exists over its current status; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20614/00]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 173, 214 and 220 together.

I published the report of the Competition and Mergers Review Group on 4 May 2000. The group, which was chaired by Mr. Michael Collins SC has made some 40 recommendations on a variety of aspects of competition and mergers legislation, the enforcement of competition law, including the groceries order, and the administration of mergers law.

In relation to the groceries order, the majority of the review group recommended that: (i) the groceries order be repealed; (ii) any legislation or regulation introduced in relation to the grocery trade should not include a ban on below cost selling; and (iii) some form of regulation be introduced in relation to the grocery trade which would in particular require suppliers to publish the terms on which they are prepared to trade with retailers, would require retailers to honour the credit terms on which suppliers are prepared to trade with them, would ban "hello money", and would require retailers not to discriminate between classes of customers in respect of the products which they sell.

I am at present considering this recommend ation and I will make a decision on it as soon as possible.