CHICAGO - The retail industry is making some gains in its efforts to get Congress involved in regulating the interchange fees levied by credit card associations, according to speakers at a Food Marketing Institute session here yesterday. Congress so far has held a few hearings on the issue, and next month the House Judiciary Committee is expected to hold a hearing looking into allegations that the associations are colluding in their pricing strategies, according to John Motley, senior vice president of government and public affairs, FMI. In addition, the Merchant Payment Coalition, a group of retailers working together on the issue, is meeting with a group of Republican attorneys general to address the topic. David Bartlett, a communications consultant working with the MPC, encouraged retailers to get involved with legislators and the media to talk about the fees in terms of the impact on consumers - about $300 per year in added product costs to pay for the fees - stressing the fact that these fees are “hidden” and set in “secret meetings.” Maureen Elworthy, treasury manager at Ahold USA, also pointed out that retailers can work with their processors to minimize their fees. “If you are not on the phone with your processor at least once a week, something’s wrong,” she said.