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China sets non-State oil import quota

2012-10-16 09:42 Global Times     Web Editor: qindexing comment

China, the world's second largest oil consumer, has set its 2013 non-State crude oil import quota at 29.1 million tons, the same as this year, the Ministry of Commerce said Monday.

The country also set its 2013 non-State fuel oil import quota at 16.2 million tons, unchanged from 2012, the ministry said on its website.

The crude import quota, equivalent to about 11.5 percent of China's total crude imports last year, will be allotted to traders outside the dominant four State traders - Unipec, Chinaoil, Sinochem and Zhuhai Zhenrong - but these non-State traders will have to sell back the crude they import to the oil duopoly Sinopec and PetroChina.

So-called non-State traders for crude oil imports are mostly affiliates of the oil duopoly, traders have said.

As part of China's World Trade Organization commitments, the country had been increasing the amount of crude and refined fuels that non-State firms could import by 15 percent every year for a decade until 2011.

But the quotas are more of a protocol than an indication that markets are being liberalized, as the import business remains dominated by powerful State oil firms and tough requirements actually prevent private oil firms from entering.

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