Ministry statement aims to boost goods supply efforts

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A customer buys vegetables at a supermarket in Zaozhuang, east China's Shandong Province, Aug. 9, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

A statement released by the Ministry of Commerce on the supply and storage of daily necessities is part of its routine work to ensure the stable operation of the consumer market, experts said on Tuesday.

In the statement published on Monday, the ministry said it has urged local commerce authorities to step up efforts to secure sufficient supplies and stabilize the prices of daily necessities in winter and spring. It also encouraged families to keep a store of necessities for daily consumption and in case of emergencies, which raised some concerns among the public over possible supply issues.

Zhu Xiaoliang, director of the ministry's Department of Market Operation and Consumption Promotion, said there is a sufficient supply of daily necessities, which can be fully guaranteed based on the current situation, China Central Television reported.

The purpose of the statement was to strengthen efforts by local authorities to ensure supplies, instruct commercial distribution companies on sourcing goods, smooth the bridge between production and sales and encourage the signing of vegetable supply agreements, Zhu said.

Guan Lixin, deputy director of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation's Institute of Distribution and Consumption, said, "The ministry regularly takes moves to ensure the supply of consumer products and stabilize prices."

Guan said the ministry's statement was a prevention measure to respond to recent increases in vegetable prices, sporadic outbreaks of COVID-19 and the impact of extreme weather.

"The move aims merely to better secure sufficient supplies of daily necessities for the people during this winter and next spring," Guan said.

The ministry's statement asked for better coordination among different government departments and regions to ensure interregional transportation of goods.

It urged local commerce authorities to strengthen surveillance of market operations and track changes in supply and demand and the prices of daily necessities, such as vegetables and meat, for early detection of problems and issuing alerts.

Local commerce authorities were instructed to encourage big distributors and agricultural producers to cooperate more closely. The distributors were also asked to sign long-term contracts with vegetable and grain growers and oil, poultry and livestock producers.

The ministry also requested improvements in the management of meat reserves and the timely release of reserves of daily necessities such as meat and vegetables to markets.

Chen Deqiu, dean of the Business School at the University of International Business and Economics, said the ministry's main objective is to boost market supply, as sporadic COVID-19 outbreaks and extreme weather have led to surges in vegetable prices.

Govt's function vital

Guan said the move is based on past experiences. Effective market surveillance and sufficient market supplies are among the pillars of economic growth and social stability. They also reflect the important function of the government in optimizing public services and making up for market failures, she said.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Chinese authorities have acted in a timely way to issue a series of measures to ensure supplies of daily necessities, meet people's demand and stabilize prices. The government typically makes extra efforts to boost supplies during important holidays, such as Spring Festival and the National Day holiday.

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