translated from Spanish: Warns Cofece fines to those who raise tortilla price

Mexico.- Even though just a week ago, Francisco Ricardo Sheffield Padilla, holder of the Attorney General’s Office (Profeco), had said that there are no real reasons why raising the price on tortillas, due to the latent threat of this actually taking place, the Federal Commission on Economic Competition (Cofece) has warned of the possible fines it would apply to pancakes who decide to increase the price on this basic input in the diet millions of Mexicans. Two weeks ago, homero López García, president of the National Tortilla Council, was announced, that from December 1st the price at each kilogram of tortilla would gain a weight in the State of Mexico and some states, this due to the increase that during 2020 has been given in the price of raw materials to make said food. Namely: maize, water, fuel for the machines where they are processed and the transport in which these inputs are transferred.
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López García detailed that this increase would apply in the more than 110 thousand businesses that throughout the Mexican republic are dedicated to its production. In addition, it highlighted that the largest cornmeal production company in all of Mexico will increase the cost of the tonne by approximately 650 pesos more.

However, during the morning conference on Monday, November 16 when President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was questioned about the threat of increasing the cost to tortilla, the executive noted that energy prices have been maintained throughout this year, so there would be conditions so that the cost of tortilla and other maize products would not increase. In this same tenor, the holder of profeco, Francisco Ricardo Sheffield Padilla, reaffirmed what the President of the Republic said that prices in the raw materials of the tortilla have been preserved throughout this year and what is more, the harvest of white maize, which is used to make nixtamal tortillas , has been particularly good in the course of this 2020.» There has been no increase in the price of energy, it has been below average inflation, so that is an important factor in the making of tortilla,» Sheffield Padilla stressed during his speech at the morning conference from Palacio Nacional.No however, if the groups that make up the National Tortilla Council in the State of Mexico and its state representatives in Hidalgo , Tamaulipas and Puebla, decide to implement the increase they had announced in mid-November, the Federal Commission on Economic Competition (Cofece) called on these organizations to avoid recommending to their subsidiaries that they carry out such an increase to the input that millions of Mexicans consume daily, since they can be warned of high economic sanctions.» Prices must be determined without any inference from competitors, i.e. where there is an increase in the price of inputs in tortilla production,» clarified the autonomous constitutional body commissioned by Alejandra Palacios Prieto.La Cofece specified that such practices can be considered as absolute monopolies, hence they may be awarded fines of up to 10% of the income to each economic operator involved in the agreement and , they may even be subject to criminal liability, which is punishable by a penalty of 5 to 10 years and fines of between 86 thousand 880 and 868 thousand 800 Mexican pesos.

Original source in Spanish

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