Lithuania's parliamentary Economics Committee has backed government proposals to abolish the state monopoly on the production of strong liquor in 2003. The draft amendments will allow all licensed companies to produce alcoholic drinks above 22% abv from 2003. The decision was reached in spite of proposals put forward by one member of the Social Democratic party to delay the move until 2004. The New Union (Social Liberals) are in favour of an earlier abolition of the monopoly.