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Carrefour in the dock for 'abusive trade practices'
[PARIS] French supermarket giant Carrefour will be brought before a commercial court to answer charges of "abusive trade practices", the economic ministry announced Wednesday.
The charges relate to annual negotiations with suppliers and follow a search of Carrefour's headquarters in March as part of an investigation by the General Directorate for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF).
Economy Minister Michel Sapin said in a statement that Carrefour obliged suppliers to offer significant discounts on their goods before any negotiations could start.
The statement was also issued in the names of the junior ministers of industry and of trade Christophe Sirugue and Martine Pinville.
The ministry said it wanted Carrefour to be fined and ordered to "stop these illicit practices".
In the run-up to this year's start of the annual negotiations, the government warned other retailers that similar "charges would be filed in the coming weeks to end and punish the practices of several other outlets".
"Ministers will not hesitate to use their power to bring charges if there appear to be significant inequalities in commercial relations between companies," the statement added.