Experts said on Tuesday that the Ministry of Commerce’s statement on the supply and storage of daily necessities is part of its routine work to ensure the consumer market’s stability.
The ministry said in a statement released on Monday that it has urged local commerce officials to step up efforts to secure adequate supplies and stabilize the prices of daily necessities during the winter and spring. It also encouraged families to stockpile necessities for daily consumption and in case of emergencies, which sparked some public concern about potential supply issues.
According to Zhu Xiaoliang, director of the Ministry of Market Operation and Consumption Promotion, there is a sufficient supply of daily necessities that can be fully guaranteed based on the current situation, as reported by China Central Television.
According to Zhu, the purpose of the statement was to strengthen local authorities’ efforts to ensure supplies, to instruct commercial distribution companies on sourcing goods, to smooth the bridge between production and sales, and to encourage the signing of vegetable supply agreements.
“The ministry regularly takes moves to ensure the supply of consumer products and stabilize prices,” Guan Lixin, deputy director of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation’s Institute of Distribution and Consumption, said.
Guan explained that the ministry’s announcement was a precautionary measure in response to recent increases in vegetable prices, sporadic outbreaks of COVID-19, and the impact of extreme weather.
“The move aims simply to ensure adequate supplies of daily necessities for the people this winter and next spring,” Guan explained.
According to the ministry’s statement, better coordination among various government departments and regions is needed to ensure interregional transportation of goods.
It urged local commerce officials to strengthen market surveillance and track changes in supply and demand, as well as the prices of daily necessities such as vegetables and meat, in order to detect problems early and issue alerts.
Local commerce officials were told to encourage larger distributors and agricultural producers to work together more closely. Long-term contracts with vegetable and grain growers, as well as oil, poultry, and livestock producers, were also required of the distributors.
The ministry also requested that meat reserves be better managed and that reserves of daily necessities such as meat and vegetables be released to markets on time.
According to Chen Deqiu, dean of the Business School at the University of International Business and Economics, the ministry’s main goal is to increase market supply, as sporadic COVID-19 outbreaks and extreme weather have caused vegetable prices to skyrocket.
The government’s role is critical
Guan stated that the decision is based on previous experiences. Effective market surveillance and adequate market supplies are pillars of economic growth and social stability. They also reflect the government’s important role in optimizing public services and compensating for market failures, she added.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Chinese authorities have acted quickly to implement a series of measures to ensure daily necessities, meet people’s demands, and stabilize prices. During major holidays such as the Spring Festival and the National Day holiday, the government typically goes above and beyond to increase supply.