THE recently appointed regional minister for Commerce, Industry and Energy, Francesca Vives, announced yesterday that she is going to maintain the current moratorium on any developers wishing to set up large hypermarkets.

Although the move runs contrary to trade liberalization strategy, Vives who was a director general in the previous government of Francesc Antich (1992-2003) elected to appear with senior colleagues yesterday to state that the clamp down on hypermarkets is part of the new government's commitment to protect small to medium-sized businesses. “Absolute freedom of movement in commerce,” said Vives “can have adverse effects on traditional industry.” She added that all parties, whatever their political colours should act to protect the fabric of regional industry.

Vives said that she shares the concerns of a section of traders who are no longer allowed to sell tobacco owing to new state laws.
She will be meeting up with them to see if any of them are entitled to be categorised as exceptions. The minister said she understood that there are areas of commerce and industry where the new law should not be strictly applied.

Energy director Marilena Tugores, is to hold a wide-ranging debate on how to promote renewable energy sources as she is reluctant to opt for wind power.

In Minorca, she claims, wind farms are a “terrible blot on the landscape”.
The new minister for Commerce and Industry has also put so-called “Chinese gift shops” on her agenda as there is great criticism from the national retail trade that the Asiatic shopkeepers are underpricing and undercutting traditional business. Vives will be listening to voices from both sides of the fence.


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