Financial News: Gov't unveils measures to open produce sector, boost competitiveness

The government on Thursday unveiled a series of measures aimed at simplifying legislation, cutting administrative burdens for enterprises and strengthening competition, along with protecting consumers’ incomes.
Presenting the measures, Regional Development & Competitiveness Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis said the five ministerial decisions would fully open the vegetable and fruits market and the baby food sector, while at the same time setting out an integrated tracking system for fresh produce. He also cited simplified procedures for wholesale pricing, reduced fines and allowing unlimited promotional actions in supermarkets.
The minister said the government was re-examining, “from scratch”, all market operations rules in order to present a radically new, modern market code by early 2012, one which would cover the real needs of services and remove all existing hurdles in competition along with unnecessary administrative burdens to enterprises.
Under the plan, the government was abolishing all commercial and industrial profit margins for fresh vegetable and fruit produce, kid foods would be sold in the open market and not only in pharmacies (with the aim to reduce prices by at least 20 pct).

The plan also implements a tracking system for fresh fruit and vegetables, focusing on 12 categories of products (apple, orange, kiwi, lettuce, peach, pear, strawberry, grape, tomato, potato and onion), all basic components of a household basket.

Speaking to reporters, Chryssohoidis said the competition commission will have to play a significant role in new conditions in the market and noted that prices have fallen and the market has stabilised.

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