Exclusive Clive Beddall Attacked by cynics as "PR fluff" in advance of the Competition Commission verdict on supermarkets' profitability, the new industry code of trading practice for buyers and sellers was given a ministerial stamp of approval by Nick Brown on Thursday. He described it as "a model on which I hope others in the chain will draw." As the agriculture minister was speaking, it was revealed that other chains and suppliers, in addition to the first signatories ­ Sainsbury, Asda, Morrison, Tesco, Safeway and Somerfield ­ were in preliminary talks with IGD about signing up to the initiative. Industry leaders have leapt to the defence of the new code, in the wake of cynicism among some commentators, City analysts in particular. One ministry official told The Grocer: "The code is groundbreaking stuff. It may not change the world immediately, but it is better than anything that has gone before." And speaking exclusively to The Grocer, Nick Brown, who asked IGD to facilitate the code after the Downing Street farm crisis summit in March, said:"I am delighted that these multiples, with the help and hard work of IGD, have reached agreement. "This is an important step forward in defining best practice in trading arrangements." It's assumed the code will find its way to the desk of secretary of state for trade and industry Stephen Byers, given he's currently assessing the findings of the Competition Commission which may suggest the government officially imposes a code. Meanwhile, the NFU has begun top level meetings with major supermarkets. A spokesman said: "The code is a great opportunity for a more open dialogue on buying and selling arrangements between retailers and suppliers. "Our meetings are designed to discuss company specific points." {{NEWS }}