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BUSINESS BRIEFS

Beer prices set to rise

PARLIAMENT has approved a beer tax related to European Union entry that will bring an extra Sk70-80 million ($1.5-1.7 million) into the state budget annually after taking effect January 1, 2003. The tax will increase the price of 'light' beer by about five per cent per bottle, while it will cut the price of higher-alcohol beer by the same amount.

The legislature also lowered a suggested tax on large breweries from Sk32 to Sk30 per hectolitre, and on small breweries from Sk24 to Sk23 per hectolitre.

The tax rises have been criticised by brewers, who say they will hurt consumption of the light beer that is more popular in Slovakia, and that they do not have to be imposed before Slovakia actually enters the EU, expected in 2004.

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