Wholesalers say will cooperate

Wholesale traders at the fruit and vegetables market at Aghios Ioannis Rendis have committed themselves to curbing price increases after a meeting with Deputy Development Minister Kimon Koulouris. It was Koulouris’s first meeting with the wholesalers since he was appointed minister recently. Koulouris’s remit extends to monitoring producer and retail prices across the board and to make sure there are no cases of excessive pricing. The wholesalers’ representatives told Koulouris they are ready to cooperate and contribute toward lower prices, but added they can do little to influence the overall market, since they account for only 9 percent of the products entering the market. Koulouris also met representatives from the Rendi meat market. The prices of fruit and vegetables, always considered volatile commodities, have increased spectacularly recently. Year-on-year, they have risen almost 60 percent, worrying the government, which has promised a crackdown. The first instance of a crackdown occurred yesterday, when Development Ministry officials caught an importer of potatoes charging 30 percent above the import price. The officials also found bogus invoices. The Athens Professional Chamber, which has asked to meet Koulouris, issued a statement yesterday saying that high prices of goods and services were due to the high cost of raw materials and the high operational costs of a business located in Athens. The chamber accused local authorities of «imposing taxes uncontrolled by higher authority and continually increasing them.»

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