China has decided to remove administrative price controls on the salt market to foster competition, the country's top economic planner announced Sunday.
The move will put an end to the nation's 2,000-plus-year State monopoly in the salt sector.
Ex-factory, wholesale and retail salt prices will be decided by the operating costs of businesses, product quality and market conditions, rather than the government, starting January 1, 2017, according to a statement released by the National Development and Reform Commission.
China is rich in salt and has seen oversupply in the past few years, with more than 300 registered producers and 4,000 distributors. The move aims to encourage market competition and cross-region sales to optimize product quality and sales patterns.
The State Council, China's cabinet, released a statement in April to reform the salt secotr by allowing private investors to join the market via partnerships with existing salt firms.
Local governments and companies should prepare for the policy change and emergency measures will be taken in the event of a salt supply shortage and rising prices to ensure market stability, especially for people in remote and poor areas, according to the statement.