Dairy price control does not violate WTO rules: official

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A new regulation requiring price registration of imported milk powder products for children does not break any WTO commitments, an official said, rejecting concerns expressed by dairy firms and foreign ambassadors.

The regulation, which comes into effect next month, is also in accordance with a previous government decree that lists milk as one of the commodities whose prices must be kept stable, Nguyen Tien Thoa, head of the Price Management Department at the Ministry of Finance, was quoted by the Vietnam News Agency as saying.

His statement came in response to recent comments from foreign milk companies and five ambassadors of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US and EU.

In a joint letter, the ambassadors said the new price control effort will affect Vietnam's commitments as a WTO member. They also warned that it could also hinder foreign investment.

The Ministry of Finance said the new regulation aims to exert some control over milk prices in Vietnam

Current regulations require only companies with 50 percent state capital to register their prices with the authorities. Starting next month all imported milk powder products for children under six must have their prices registered with the authorities.

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