|Received:||11/12/2004 6:29:34 PM|
|Organization:||Affiliated Foods Midwest|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
|Rule:||Notice Announcing Publication of Staff Report on the Franchise Rule|
Comments:On behalf of Affiliated Foods Midwest, we would like to express our strong opposition to the staff’s proposed revised trade regulation that would eliminate the current exclusions from the rule as provided under 16 CFR Section 436.2 (a)(4)(ii). Affiliated Foods Midwest is a Cooperative, owned exclusively by grocery retailers in the Midwest. We can speak for our owners when we say that this legislation would have a large impact on their interests in maintaining the exclusion for cooperative associations in the franchise rule. It is vital that their interest in Affiliated Foods Midwest be kept private, as their own businesses are. Our owner retailers view us as a division of their business, not as a separate entity that they are invested in. Full disclosure is currently made to all current owners and should not go beyond the owners and into the public. This could cause misapplication of the rule and impose additional and unnecessary costs to defend such legislation, thus lowering the store’s profits at the end of the year. We agree with the National Grocers Association and the National Cooperative Business Association and other cooperative associations to strongly oppose the staff report and proposed revised rule that would eliminate the explicit exclusion for cooperatives. The Commission’s intent that cooperatives are not covered by the rule should remain explicitly spelled out in the text of the rule itself, not solely in the Compliance Guide which does not have the same legal force as the text of the rule.