Thu, Feb 10, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Ministry to meet food, commodity suppliers tomorrow

By Jason Tan  /  Staff Reporter

The Ministry of Economic Affairs is set to meet food and commodity suppliers tomorrow to seek their assistance in stabilizing prices.

Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Sheng-chung (林聖忠) told reporters it would meet producers and suppliers of flour, sugar, cookies, beverages and other consumables in a bid to persuade them not to jointly hike prices if they could maintain a reasonable profit margin.

Lin said although prices are determined by free market mechanisms, the ministry hoped these companies would consider government measures such as a lower tax on imported flour when setting prices.

A stronger New Taiwan dollar should also help these companies weather the price hikes in imports, he said.

Sugar prices, however, look set to rise, with state-run Taiwan Sugar Corp (Taisugar, 台糖) considering raising the price of small granulated sugar packs to reflect rising costs, the ministry said.

Taisugar said about 55 percent of its raw sugar is sourced from Queensland, Australia, where floods last month damaged its crop and drove up global prices.

As for cooking oil, Taisugar will only be able to offer a NT$10 to NT$20 discount to competing brands in the market because of the hike in international corn and yellow bean prices.

The ministry has been monitoring food prices since before the Lunar New Year holiday following announcements by some producers and distributors that they intend to raise the prices of instant noodles, bakery products and other consumables to reflect rising material costs.

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