Asda wants overseas suppliers excluded from a new code of conduct intended to ensure that big grocers do not use their buying power to impose unfair trading terms, according to the Guardian.

The UK’s second biggest grocer has included the demand in its response to the Competition Commission’s remedies report, published in February after a two-year inquiry into the£125 billion grocery market.

The Commission provisionally recommended that grocers set up an ombudsman service to help protect small suppliers and farmers and said supermarkets may be forced to appoint compliance officers to ensure they treat suppliers in accordance with a new and wide-ranging code of practice, the Groceries Supply Code of Practice.

Asda said overseas suppliers should be excluded from the proposed code because they have customers in other countries, although it is understood to be the only one of the main supermarkets to make the request.

However, charity Action Aid criticised the big supermarkets for not doing more to help low income workers used by their overseas suppliers. Action Aid corporate campaigner Jenny Ricks said: “We urge Asda and other supermarkets to prove they are serious about cleaning up their act by accepting the Commission’s remedies and stop fighting proposals that would help poor workers overseas.”

In its submission to the Commission, Asda also claimed the new code of practice could harm competition. Yesterday, an Asda spokesman told the Guardian the commission had not provided any evidence that a tougher code of practice was not necessary, but that the grocer was committed to treating overseas suppliers fairly.