A lawmaker called for urgent competition in the trade of chilled pork from the mainland after it was yesterday revealed that the sole importer of live pigs had raised prices for the second time in 10 months. Legislator Tommy Cheung Yu-yan urged the government to implement its plan to introduce imports of chilled mainland pork in the first three months of this year. 'To improve the wholesale market, controlled by a sole agent, and relieve market demand for pork, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department should open up the market for chilled pork imports as soon as possible,' he said. The government had settled negotiations on the issue with mainland counterparts at the end of last year, Mr Cheung said. The department said Hong Kong currently imports chilled pork from Thailand, Australia and the US. Importer Ng Fung Hong raised the wholesale price of mainland pigs by $50 per 100 catty on February 23 - the second time in 10 months - without informing the public, said Hui Wai-kin, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Pork Traders General Association. Ng Fung Hong increased the price by the same amount last April, and is believed to be planning a $30 price rise in May. Live pigs now trade for between $900 and $950 per 100 catty, and Mr Hui urged the importer to explain the price increase to the public as soon as possible. 'We have no choice but to pass the extra cost on to the customers. But we can't do so because the public doesn't know the wholesale price has been raised,' he said, adding that traders now had to pay about $70 more for each pig. 'We can only accept the price increase ... It is the only agent in Hong Kong. If we don't buy from them, there's nowhere [else].' The 50-year-old firm, a part of mainland conglomerate China Resources, has been operating the monopoly since the late 1980s. It is believed the latest price increase was due to a surge in feed prices. Mr Hui said vendors dared not increase prices as they faced fierce competition from supermarkets, where pork sold for as low as $16.50 per catty. He estimated vendors would need to increase prices by $1 to $2 a catty to cover the price increase. Cut meat now trades from $20 to $22 per catty.