Gov't firm on price stabilization: Jiang

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

TAIPEI -- Vice Premier Jiang Yi-huah said yesterday that the government's determination to stabilize consumer prices and crackdown on price gouging is “beyond question” in the face of sharply rising consumer prices.

The Apple Daily reported that the prices of six out of 16 categories of daily goods have risen, with frozen food rising the most at a level of as high as 15.4 percent.

The report also cited a small package of brand rice sold in Carrefour, a major supermarket chain, as having undergone a price surge of 30.2 percent.

Jiang, who heads a price stabilization task force, said that “the reports are inconsistent with the real situation.”

According to Jiang, the increase is because the most recent round of promotional activity has ended, so prices have returned to original levels.

Jiang said that every kind of commodity has price fluctuations at certain times, adding that price hikes for specific commodities do not mean a surge in the overall market.

“Related government agencies will heed the prices of small packages of rice,” he said, adding that if a price hike of even 10 percent is seen, the government will “pay attention.”

On reports that the government has asked the operators to report their prices themselves, the Fair Trade Commission explained that this is only one aspect of the government's efforts to keep track of consumer prices and that “it is routine practice” before on-site inspections.

Jiang cited the latest one-site inspection on May 10 as an example, saying that the government mobilized 222 people from 95 agencies to inspect 89 locations.

The Cabinet's price stabilization task force was established last month in the wake of consumer price hikes triggered by the government's announcement of a utility rate increase.

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