Yolanda Díaz’s proposal to put limits on food prices is not new. The PSOE affirms that it is of “doubtful legality” and the PP considers that it would generate shortages. However, farmer and consumer organizations already raised the measure in 2008.
The situation in June of that year has some similarities with the current rise in food prices: lemons stood out among this rise, with 63.73% or sunflower oil, with 45.64%.
In June 2022, the INE evidenced the price increase: fruit, 19.3% on average compared to last year; beef, 13.1%; pork, 8.6%; 11.2% sheep meat and fresh and frozen fish, more than 10%.
Faced with this perspective, in the midst of the crisis in 2008, the agrarian organization COAG and the consumer associations UCE and Ceaccu considered that the Government should intervene to control the “alarming” inflation and demanded to develop article 13 of the Trade Law. These associations presented to the parliamentary groups a non-law proposal on commercial margins, which was approved in the Congress of Deputies in September of that year.
It is precisely on this point that COAG again affects today, stating in a recent conversation with Public: “It seems good to us that the chain be controlled and that tools be put in place so that there are no abusive prices, but as long as producer profit margins are safeguarded“.
What does article 13 of the Trade Law allow?
Law 7/1996 on the Regulation of Retail Trade speaks in article 13 of the possibility of limiting prices. Although it stipulates that “the sale prices of the articles will be freely determined and offered”, it makes it clear that the Government “after hearing the affected sectors, may set the prices or the marketing margins of certain products”.
To do so, one of the following assumptions must occur: essential products or strategic raw materials; be goods produced or marketed in monopoly regime or by administrative concession; do it like complementary measure of production regulation policies or subsidies or other aid to specific companies or sectors and exceptionally and while the circumstances that advise intervention persist, when, in a given sector, there is an absence of effective competition, there are serious obstacles to the functioning of the market or shortage situations occur.