Price Freeze, Grain Duties May End

The Economic Development and Trade Ministry sees no need to extend a price freeze on food staples or prolong grain export barriers to keep consumer prices down, a deputy minister said Friday.

Andrei Klepach said neither a price freeze nor grain export duties were on a list of anti-inflation measures prepared by the ministry, since they were no longer seen as effective.

"The impact of [the price freeze] on inflation has diminished," Klepach said. He added that forecasts for a better grain crop this year rendered high duties unnecessary.

Around 20 companies agreed in October to freeze the prices of basic foodstuffs. The freeze was later extended until May 1. The government has also imposed a 40 percent export tariff on wheat and a 30 percent duty on barley. These tariffs were last month extended to July 1.