The white paper for the new Balearic commercial law was approved by the cabinet yesterday and the motion will now be put before parliament. The hotly debated new law, which has seen the Balearic government and the Insular Council of Majorca locked in a battle for power, will, the government hopes, further limit the expansion of large stores and hyper markets, the damage they have on the commercial market, wipe out fraud during the sales and also limit the sale of alcohol. Balearic Presidential Secretary, Antoni Garcias, explained yesterday that, in the wake of the cabinet meeting, the motion will follow the usual channels through parliament. However, Garcias said that certain objections are expected during the parliamentary debate and the exact text of the document may still be amended yet if improvements can be made. The government believes that the new commercial law is an “innovative” one which meets the demands of the public. Garcias explained that the main concern when the bill was drawn up was to ensure that the threat posed to the traditional commercial market by the super stores is curtailed. In accordance with the new law, a super store will be a commercial outfit employing more than 250 people or with an annual turnover in excess of 40 million Euros. Super stores will have to pay a tax of 30 euros per square metre of land used for commercial activities. New super stores will be forced to comply with strict regulations and will not be allowed to occupy an area larger than 1'3000 square metres in Palma, while the restrictions in other towns of Majorca will depend on the size of the local population. With regards to the commercial sector as a whole, each trader will be able to decide for him or herself opening hours, although, traders will not be allowed to be open for more than 72 hours per week broken down to 12 hours a day - not including Sundays. The Sunday and fiesta opening timetable will be reviewed and decided at the start of every year. The sale of alcohol is also set for new restrictions with shops and petrol stations not allowed to sell alcohol over 80% in strength between 10pm and 8am.

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