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Ministry wants retail law passed sooner

The Economy Ministry wants to ask parliament to speed up legislative proceedings for the draft bill on "inappropriate conditions in business relations," which aims to prevent retail chains from abusing their power over suppliers and consumers.

The ministry has already assessed the results of the interdepartmental review of the draft law. Based on its evaluation, it says unbalanced business relations harm the financial performance of retail suppliers. The collapse of suppliers would have negative social impacts and burden the state budget, which goes against the government's efforts to reduce unemployment, the ministry said.

It added that not solving the problem could cause considerable economic damages.

The ministry prepared the draft law at the request of Prime Minister Robert Fico, who accused retail chains in Slovakia of reckless profiteering. If the draft makes it through parliament, it will take effect as of February next year.

Under the draft law, selling products or services to consumers for less than their production cost or purchase price will be banned.

The law would also ban the unjustified return of goods to a supplier at the supplier's cost, and forcing suppliers to exchange goods at their own expense. The bill also limits listing fees that retail chains could charge for listing a product or its placement in a specific spot in the store.

Retail chains could be fined up to Sk10 million for violating these regulations.

-SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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