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EC steps up infringement procedure over food pricing

The European Commission (EC) last Thursday stepped up an ongoing infringement procedure against Hungary over local rules that require retailers to apply the same profit margins to domestic and imported farm and food products, state news wire MTI reported.

The rules run counter to the European Union principle of the free movement of goods, the EC said.

"[The law] may discourage sales of imported agricultural and food products in comparison to domestic ones, as it may make it more difficult for importers and retailers to offer imported products, which are usually less well known to the domestic consumer, at more attractive prices," it explained.

The EC launched the infringement procedure in February 2017, sending a letter of formal notice - the first step in the infringement procedure. It decided on Thursday to send Hungary a "reasoned opinion" on the matter, the next step in the procedure.

If Hungary fails to act within two months from the receipt of the reasoned opinion, the EC may refer the matter to the Court of Justice of the EU.