Hungarian official calls for multinational retailers to stop selling "rubbish" and leave

By bne IntelliNews June 17, 2016

Some multinational food retailers should leave Hungary, the powerful head of the prime minister’s office said on June 16 in damning comments that accused them of selling "rubbish". The ruling Fidesz party has a long track record of pressuring international investors in the retail sector.

The call comes shortly after Budapest flagged that it is looking for solutions that would allow it to "restrict" the participation of multinational companies in the retail sector without provoking the ire of the EU. The government is also reported to be mulling a special tax on multinational retailers, in an attempt to boost domestic ownership in the sector.

“The government is reviewing the situation of the Hungarian food retail sector,” Janos Lazar said at his weekly press conference. “For some [multinational retailers], it is high time to leave the country, instead of flooding Hungary with the rubbish of European food products,” he continued, according to Index.hu.

The minster also added that there have been major lobbying efforts for the reduction of VAT on UHT milk. He said he “is not sure how much Hungarian milk farmers would profit from such a measure,” as only 40% of the UHT milk sold in Hungary is produced in the country.

 

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