TOO much tolerance is being shown by the regional government to Chinese hypermarkets on Majorca which break the law, the Association of Tourist Businesses (Acotur) claimed yesterday.

The Association slammed what it described as the “passive” attitude of the Balearic ministry for Commerce and Industry led by Francesca Vives towards three Chinese supermarkets which have reportedly flouted current legislation on licencing, in Ciudad Jardin, Son Fuster and on the Carretera de Manacor. “These establishments are threatening the success of smaller local businesses,” a spokesman explained yesterday, claiming that this was despite the fact that the current Balearic government had declared itself to be a champion of small to medium-sized traders. He furthered that Acotur was highly critical of the ministry's failure to control what the Association sees as the Chinese hypermarkets' mal-practice. “The Chinese hypermarket in Ciudad Jardin,” said the spokesman, “managed to legalise its presence by cutting down the square metreage of its operating space from well over 1'000 down to 600 square metres by putting up partitioning walls “Having done that,” Acotur explained, “the hypermarket then doesn't need an opening permit from the Balearic government, just a local authority licence.” The spokesman said that the ministry's acceptance of this “adjustment” was nothing less than “shabby.” Acotur say that small to medium-sized traders are pursued rigorously by the law in the Balearics for selling items that are perfectly legal in Spain, but that taxes and fines can exceed 1'600 euros in some cases.