The Trade Department plans to discontinue the price setting or the so-called suggested retail price scheme to allow market forces to determine the appropriate cost of consumer products including food.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the agency would review the existing price regulation and determine if there was a good reason to suspend or totally disallow the SRP scheme in products where there were many competitors.
“Let the market decide. We should deregulate the industry, since more competition assures us of competitive pricing in the market,” Lopez said.
Lopez said consumers should be allowed to have options on the brand.
He said prices were different among manufacturers, with some offering low, premium and mid-range costs.
Lopez said for some products, generic and/or unbranded items were tempering the price of the commodity. “Or we can allow imports to compete so manufacturers will be forced to temper their increase,” he said.
The Trade Department is also studying if it should take down the SRP scheme on products with less or no competition at all.
Lopez said the principle of SRP was to reduce bureaucracy and not to regulate.
“The SRP is structured such that it can avoid collusion. And as long as we see competition, SRP is not relevant. There will be a fight for market share,” said Lopez.
The Trade Department’s consumer protection group approves the SRP and the petition or requests to increase the price of a basic commodity.
SRP is a pricing guidance that protects consumers from sudden spikes in the price of basic commodities due to calamities, lack of supply, fluctuation of the price of raw materials or as a result of an international incident.