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Fidesz lawmaker seeks to boost beverage market competition

Parliamentʼs legislative committee cleared modifications to draft legislation related to next yearʼs budget on Thursday that would prohibit beverage makers from signing exclusive contracts with catering establishments and event organizers, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

Lajos Kósa (Photo by Károly Árvai/kormany.hu)

The modifications, submitted by Lajos Kósa, an MP of governing Fidesz, would apply to beer, soft drinks - as defined in the law on the health product tax - and mineral water.

The changes would require catering establishments to offer guests beer, soft drinks, and mineral water from "at least two different producers". However, the provision would not apply to beer on tap.

The modified bill would allow exclusive contracts to be signed for beer on tap as long as beer from "at least one" legally defined "craft brewery" is offered to guests simultaneously and sales of that beer account for "at least 20%" of beer sales volume.

Kosa noted at the committee meeting that while the market share of small beverage makers reaches 15-20% in Germany, the Czech Republic, and Austria, their market share in Hungary is just 3.6%.