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Belgium to probe bread prices

Published on 07/07/2004

7 July 2004

BRUSSELS – The Belgian government is to investigate whether the country’s bakers are banding together to fix the price of bread, it was announced on Wednesday.

Economics Minister Fientje Moerman said she had ordered the investigation to makes sure that no price fixing cartels existed in Belgium.

Up until the beginning of July bread prices in Belgium were regulated by the state.

But since then, bakers have been free to fix their own prices.

The move should in theory see bread prices fall as bread makers vie with each other for more trade.

But a number of consumer groups have expressed concern that what may well happen instead is that the bakers band together into cartels and agree to keep prices artificially high.

Price fixing is illegal and if Moerman’s investigation unearths any foul play the perpetrators could face fines of up to 10 percent of their turnover.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news