FTC to probe industries for hiked commodity prices

The China Post news staff

The China Post news staff–The highly inflated prices of everyday essentials have caused the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) under the Legislative Yuan to investigate the price of instant noodles and other items, although it will not reveal under what terms it is investigating, only that companies found making unlawful price adjustments would face punishment. The FTC Chairperson Wu Shiow-ming said at a Legislative Yuan meeting yesterday, that the price hikes of daily necessities is causing concern. The commission will investigate the surged price of instant noodles, wheat, flour, soybean, salad oil, sugar, milk powder, rice, corn, garlic, white chicken meat, winter bamboo shoots and gas cylinders.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Pan Meng-an argued that import taxes for wheat and flour have already been lowered; with the New Taiwan dollar’s rise against the greenback, imported products should also lower proportionately. Why then, are commodities still so expensive, Pan asked, adding that although the import quantity of products remain the same, many items on the market are reportedly in short supply.

Wu said the fixing of prices is largely based on international trends and changes in domestic markets. As for why some products are in short supply, the FTC chairperson said it’s likely that customers have started buying in bulk out of fear of future price hikes. Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Ding Shou-jhong called for the FTC to unveil their investigative findings within three months, revealing to the public information such as which product prices were adjusted according to global surges, which companies were price gouging, hoarding products, forming private cartels and so forth.

This would show the government’s involvement and enforcement of fair trade laws, Ding said.

Wu emphasized that as this is a closed investigation, the details and terms of the probe in individual cases would not be revealed as it may allow companies a chance to destroy evidence. As for unveiling the results of the probe in the three-month time period, the FTC chairperson said a balance would be struck between exposing all of the findings and verifying the details of the investigation.