Lawmakers point out that several instant noodle products have seen their prices increase by 11 percent and have demanded a price-fixing investigation.
Lawmakers are calling on the Fair Trade Commission to investigate price-fixing in the instant noodle industry after several well-known brands raised prices around the same time.
Yang Chiung-ying, Legislator (KMT): “Do you think raising the price from NT$53 to NT$59 -- a difference of over 10 percent -- is reasonable?”
May Lee, Chair, Fair Trade Commission: “Market prices vary a lot too. We haven't seen any evidence of price-fixing.”
The FTC says the instant noodle producers raised prices individually rather than collectively. Uni-President was the first to announce a price hike when it raised the price of one of its instant noodle products from NT$53 to NT$59 at the end of October. Convenience store chain Hi-Life, meanwhile, says it has been notified that Vedan will be raising the price of one of its instant noodle products by the same amount on Nov. 17. Both are hikes of 11 percent. Wei Lih hasn't made any price-related announcements, but analysts say the company won't be able to not follow suit.
Chen Ting-fei, Legislator (DPP): “Do you have the ability to investigate small-ticket items? ”
May Lee, Chair, Fair Trade Commission: “They have to jointly discuss the price situation. This wouldn't happen very often. If we want to accuse someone of collusion, we would need very concrete evidence.”
The FTC also addressed concerns about supermarket giants being formed with PX Mart's acquisition of RT-Mart and Carrefour's acquisition of Wellcome, saying it has not received any merger applications at this point.
Tsai Pi-ru, Legislator (TPP): “This is horizontal integration. If market share and sales meet the threshold as stipulated in Article 11 of the Fair Trade Act, the parties must file an application with the FTC. ”
May Lee, Chair, Fair Trade Commission: “We haven't received any applications. When we do, we will review the market share.”
The FTC also said merger applications are reviewed on the basis of market share, economic impact, and future price adjustments.