Today’s meeting is another opportunity to hear all views and discuss in more depth the situation in the food industry, which is on the agenda of our whole society. This was said by Deputy Minister of Economy and Industry Irina Shtonova at the opening of a meeting of the Industry Council for Tripartite Cooperation ‘Food Industry’, which was held today at the Ministry. She pointed out that the government has been working on a daily basis to control food prices for several months and dialogue with all actors along the chain is extremely important.
The Federation of Independent Trade Unions in the Food Industry pointed out that, according to signals of their members, there is a great inequality between Bulgarian producers and those from abroad, and a serious advantage is given to imported goods at the expense of domestic production. On the other hand, according to them, there is a 40%—50% increase in the prices of goods from the producer to the store, and in some cases even up to 100%, which should be subject to verification by the control authorities. The Federation pointed out that mechanisms should be found to encourage the purchase of Bulgarian goods, as well as control bodies to monitor more thoroughly the unfair clauses in supply contracts that are concluded with retail chains and which disadvantage small traders.
The industry also said it hoped the state would speed up its work on the preparation of the new legislation, including an increase in fines for violations found in shops and retail chains and the improvement of control mechanisms. The representatives of the industry and the trade unions commented that a serious obstacle to the development of the sector is the division of competences between different institutions, which makes it difficult for good coordination and effective support from the state.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Commission for Protection of Competition, trade unions, leading associations in the sector, as well as representatives of some of the largest retail chains in the country.