PRAGUE (AP) – The lower house of the Czech Parliament approved Wednesday a requirement that supermarkets have a minimum portion of local food, a move to reduce dependence on imports.
The share of Czech food in stores greater than 400 square meters (4305 square feet) must be at least 55% by 2022 and increase to at least 73% by 2028, according to the law.
It was drafted by the populist opposition Freedom and Direct Democracy Party which pushed it through the house with help from Prime Minister Andrej Babis’ ruling coalition.
The controversial move still needs to be approved by the upper house, the Senate, which is controlled by the opposition, and then by the president. The lower house can rule out a possible Senate or presidential veto by a simple majority.
Those who support the bill argue that the coronavirus pandemic shows that it is important for the country to be self-reliant in food production.
They said the move would also improve local agriculture. This applies to about 120 food products such as pork, beef, milk, honey and various vegetables that are already produced in the Czech Republic.
Eight European Union countries have protested the bill, saying it would discriminate against imported products, which are illegal under EU rules.
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