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HK may lift ban on formula purchase after one year

(People's Daily Online)

08:24, March 20, 2013

Hong King has banned Chinese mainlanders from buying more than two cans of formula powder per adult person each day as of March 1. The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region says this is to curb cross-border parallel trading to allay city residents' fears that local stores would run out of infant milk formula.

The two-can limit has become the subject of discussion. Many Hong Kong infant formula producers say it would harm the city's image as a free market and hurt the interests of businesses and consumers.

Infant formula producers: no shortage of dairy products

Is there really severe formula shortage? Local milk industry insiders and the SAR government have different views.

More than 10 days since the implementation of the two-can limit, some Hong Kong infant formula producers admitted the shortage is just an illusion, and there is only shortage of some kind of products. They think that this limit does not go through enough consultation, and should discuss their problems with suppliers and retailers, rather than rush to change legislation.

Traders and wholesalers said, "formula shortage" is limited to some brands, but the two-can limit is for all suppliers, and they assume such restrictions undermines the free economy, therefore propose to put the limit in "Sunset articles".

Refute Philip Chan, Deputy Secretary-General of the Food and Health Bureau of Hong Kong SAR Government, say although only some kind of formula are out of stock, they accounted for 60% in the market and affects Hong Kong babies. He also said that, although before the Lunar New Year milk powder suppliers ensured adequate supply, many parents still complained formula out of stock, so Hong Kong has to issue the limit.

The Hong Kong SAR government officials said, before the introduction of the measures, there were cross-department research and find out the limit does not violate the WTO agreements and The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, but temporarily it will not join "Sunset articles".

Read the Chinese version:香港“限奶令”引反弹 港府:最快明年取消
Source:People's Daily Overseas Edition

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