National Secretaries exchanged virtually

The Secretarial Working Group (SWG) met virtually on Friday, 28th January 2022.
Mr. Olivier Mazoyer, President of IUCAB, Mr. David Johnson, Chairman of the SWG, and Mr. Christian Rebernig, Secretary General, welcomed the National Secretaries from 16 countries, who exchanged on current issues and discussed the situation of commercial agents worldwide.

The meeting was attended by Mr. Charles Cohon (MANA, USA), Mr. Eckhard Doepfer (CDH, Germany), Ms. Annemarie Grob (VNHI, Netherlands), Mr. Frank Grønsund (VIRKE, Norway), Mr. Matt Tickle (The MAA, Great Britain & Ireland), Mr. Alkis Iliadis (FICAB, Greece), Ms. Tina Lepsa (GZS, Slovenia), Mr. José Francisco Orero Pardo (COAC Valencia, Spain), Mr. Zacharias Manitaras and Mr. Nicolas Philippou (CCRA, Cyprus), Mr. Marco Righetti and Mr. Mattia Ursetta (USARCI, Italy), Ms. Alexia Scotto Di Carlo (APAC, France) and Ms. Helena Waker (Tradepartners, Sweden). Mr. Trond Bergestuen (Professor at the Wisconsin University, USA) was invited to take part as guest speaker and to present the results of the European Study of Commercial Agents 2021.

The SWG Chairman, Mr. Johnson, opened the meeting and handed over to the Secretary General who informed the participants on the current procedure in regard of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER) and Guidelines (VGL). After three years of constant consultations and involvement into the process of the finalisation of the VBER and VGL, IUCAB and some IUCAB Member Associations have taken part in the public consultation in autumn last year and contributed the key aspects of the profession. It is expected that the final version of the VBER and the VGL will be published in spring this year. The current regulation will expire on 31st May 2022.

Many European commercial agents represent products from manufacturers coming from outside the European Union. Therefore, regulations, which influence this business relation, are of importance.
Due to a request of a Member Association the issue of import duties on goods from third countries was discussed in regard to the implementation of the new EU-Regulation in July 2021, which foresees import duties on goods, even with a value of under EUR 22. Nevertheless, particular goods are still free from import duties under certain conditions according to the EU-Regulation for duty exemption (2009). Goods can be imported duty-free for trade promotion purposes, as samples with low value or products used at a trade fair.

Referring to the Partnership with GL Events Exhibitions Mr. Rebernig gave a short overview of IUCAB´s involvement during the SIRHA, the world leading exhibition in food service sector, that took place in September 2021 in Lyon. IUCAB invited its Member Associations to promote the visit to SIRHA among their members. Furthermore, IUCAB´s President, Mr. Mazoyer, took the opportunity to meet the Director, Ms. Marie Odile Fondeur, and to discuss further possibilities of the cooperation. About 100 commercial agents from France, Italy and other countries related to the agri-food sector, visited SIRHA. A next opportunity to intensify the collaboration with GL Events is the fair Global Industrie, that is scheduled from 17th to 20th May 2022 in Paris, France.

Mr. Doepfer and Mr. Rebernig reminded on the IUCAB B2B Platform as an important tool for manufacturers in finding commercial agents worldwide. Furthermore, IUCAB will offer a webinar for platform administrations, starting in spring this year. The webinar will strengthen the know-how and demonstrate the smooth use of the platform tools.

Mr. Trond Bergestuen presented the results of the European Study of Commercial Agents 2021 to the SWG. The objectives of the study are to explore the key variables that affect the relationship between commercial agents and their manufacturers. Its findings will be used to increase the visibility of the profession and may strengthen the relationship with manufacturers.

Mr. Rebernig informed the participants about the IUCAB Training Program and the ongoing application phase. Member Associations with expiring approvals are invited to renew their national programs.
Regarding the George Hayward Award 2022 he reminded the Secretaries to participate in the tender and invited them to nominate their candidates until the 11th of March.

The next SWG meeting will be held on 26th May 2022 during the occasion of the Delegates Meeting in Limassol, Cyprus.