Vyborny said the companies’ margins should not be inappropriate. Credit: Freepik.

Prague, Sept 3 (CTK) – Czech Agriculture Minister Marek Vyborny (KDU-CSL) will discuss food prices on Thursday with representatives of the eight biggest retail chains operating in the country, he said in a discussion program on Czech Television yesterday.

He said he is not the minister for setting prices, but would like to discuss the issue informally with the producers and sellers.

Tomas Prouza, head of the Association of Trade and Tourism, said he opposes any state intervention in business.

Vyborny said everyone on the Czech food market should play according to the rules. He said it was for the Czech Trade Inspection Authority to adopt any possible measures.

Vyborny said the companies’ margins should not be inappropriate.

In late August, Vyborny said that the government would call on retail chains to offer more Czech food.

Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) has previously discussed food prices and the profits of food-processing companies with representatives in the sector. “I believe that when the expenses are falling again, the food prices will lower as well and the citizens will feel it,” Fiala said.

In July, the year-on-year increase in food prices was 9.5%. Dana Vecerova, head of the Czech Federation of the Food and Drink Industries, told CTK that food prices would continue falling this year, except for pork.

Vyborny also said yesterday he would like to talk to ministers from other EU states about the possible harmonisation of excise tax on still wine; he said he would welcome a solution for the whole EU so that Czech wine makers would not be at a disadvantage compared to those in neighbouring Austria, Slovakia and Germany.

The Czech government coalition negotiated the taxation of still wine during preparations for its consolidation package. The Christian Democrats successfully insisted that the zero excise tax would be maintained. As this was widely criticised, a working group was formed consisting of representatives of the government coalition, some ministers and wine makers, which had its first meeting last Wednesday.

Experts say the Czech state loses dozens of billions of crowns a year due to high alcohol consumption, which negatively affects many people. Several hundred thousand people have problems with alcohol addiction in the Czech Republic.

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