Don't raise prices, trade group urges members

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 April, 2011, 12:00am


The All China Federation of Industry and Commerce, the chamber of commerce for non-state companies, released an open letter yesterday urging its members not to raise prices or manipulate supplies.

Tens of thousands of member enterprises were asked to 'voluntarily take social responsibility and ease the worries of the authorities', in an open letter issued by the semi-official federation on its website amid government pressure to stabilise prices.

The public call came after the top pricing authority, the National Development and Reform Commission, talked with 17 industry associations involved in consumer products on the importance of maintaining stable prices in recent weeks.

The mainland is engaged in an uphill battle against rising prices. Inflation hit a 28-month peak of 5.1 per cent in November and rose a higher-than-expected 4.9 per cent in February.

Many economists believe it may climb further because of rising global commodity prices.

The letter was co-signed by 24 sub-associations of the federation that included businesses in agricultural products, bakeries, fisheries, textiles and property. They called on their members to ease the worries of the government and to ensure stable supplies and prices.

The federation asked entrepreneurs and companies to 'be rational about increasing costs amid inflation and not to jump on the bandwagon to raise prices', pointing out that its members were the biggest contributors and beneficiaries of the reform and opening-up policy.

It also urged them not to keep up prices artificially by limiting production or supplies, and not to collude to raise prices or abuse their industry positions to manipulate costs. 'It requires efforts from multiple parties to join forces and curb fast-soaring prices,' federation vice-chairman Zhuang Congsheng said.

This month, the NDRC and the Ministry of Commerce held price-control talks with senior officials of 17 trade associations including the federation and the beverage, dairy, liquor, meat and vegetable sectors, the Guangzhou Daily reported.

The NDRC had talked food and beverage manufacturers into putting off raising prices, and ordered edible oil producers to halt increases for another two months following a similar request in November, according to the 21st Century Business Herald.

The price regulator has been busy getting companies to stop increasing prices as it looks to counter inflation.

It has criticised liquor manufacturers for raising prices repeatedly even when their costs were stable.

Prior to that, the watchdog also talked four major hygiene and personal care product manufacturers out of price rises after media reports of imminent increases.

The reports had triggered panic buying across the mainland, with consumers emptying supermarket shelves for soap, dishwashing liquid, shampoo and bath gel.

Price worries

Mainland inflation hit a 28-month peak of 5.1 per cent in November and rose in February at a higher than expected: 4.9%