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    FMI, GMA Sign Collaboration Agreement

    The two trade groups are expecting to build on a legacy of successful cooperation.

    Steven C. Smith, president and CEO of K-VA-T Food Stores and chairman of the Food Marketing Institute, and Douglas R. Conant, president and CEO of Campbell Soup Co. and chairman of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, signed a joint memorandum of understanding collaboration agreement at the FMI Midwinter Executive Conference in Orlando, Fla. Under the agreement, the two trade organizations pledged to work together more on improving manufacturer-retailer engagement to attain enhanced supply chain efficiency, better ways to serve consumers and more efficient use of association and member resources.

    "FMI will leverage the strengths of our organization with those of GMA to find innovative ways to collaborate, eliminate duplication and provide all our members with more robust programs and services," said FMI president and CEO Leslie Sarasin. "We will create a policy multiplier on issues of critical concern by harnessing the collective wisdom of the industry through this partnership."

    "Collaboration is the key to success when it comes to confronting the challenges and opportunities facing our industry, and GMA has no more important ally than FMI," added GMA president and CEO Pamela Bailey.

    According to the agreement, the associations' industry affairs agenda will be bolstered by the creation of a joint industry affairs-industry relations leadership group, The Trading Partner Alliance (TPA). The group will develop a common agenda on supply chain efficiency issues, the application of information technology and the adoption of green business practices, among other issues. The FMI and GMA staffs will jointly execute the unified agenda, which will be overseen by the organization's boards of directors.

    The agreement also stipulates more collaboration in the areas of public policy, scientific and regulatory affairs activity. Additionally, the associations agreed to hold at least one joint board of directors meeting yearly and look for greater synergies in meetings and conferences that benefit the food, beverage and CPG industry.

    The agreement runs from January 2009 to December 2010.

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