The influx of parallel traders who buy their stock tax-free in Hong Kong to resell it in mainland China at a profit is causing growing unrest. Residents of Sheung Shui, a town close to China's border, say the increase in parallel importers has pushed up retail prices and causes a general nuisance. Importers argue that their trade benefits the Hong Kong economy.
Controls on milk formula likely soon, says health chief
The government will decide in a few days whether to protect baby formula as a “reserved commodity”, like rice, to ensure local needs, the health minister said.
Speaking on a RTHK programme on Wednesday morning, Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man said the government was studying the feasibility of adding the formula under the Reserved Commodities Ordinance to prevent parallel trading.
“The problem must be tackled by multiple methods,” said Ko. “Unfair sale practices among retailers should be curbed, but relying on retail level is not the best way. We must find ways to stop parallel traders from targeting infant formulas.”
“In two or three days, the government might be able to announce some new measures. We are now discussing the operating method in detail,” he said. He later confirmed that amending the ordinance was one of the options under consideration.
“We need to set a quota if we are to limit the number of tins to be brought across the border, and there should be an exception to allow local parents to bring some milk to feed their children when they are travelling.”
Rice, a staple food, is the only reserved commodity under the ordinance, which controls imports and exports to ensure a stable supply.