Time to end monopoly of salt industry and business

Updated: 2014-10-31 14:57

By Li Yang(Chinadaily.com.cn)

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Abolishing the old monopoly system of the salt industry and business can serve the people and promote the development of the salt chemical industries in China, says an article in Beijing Youth Daily. Excerpts:

China will end the 2,000-year-old state monopoly of the salt industry. The prices of all salt-related products will be decided by the market beginning in 2016 and private investors can join the salt industry beginning in 2017.

The reform is to deal with corruption in the monopoly industry and the salt business.

Some salt products are priced much higher than their real value and production costs. The huge profit is taken by the middlemen in the monopoly sales system. The government cannot receive the profit, because the main revenue is from a fixed salt tax.

The consumers and salt chemical enterprises blame the government’s inaction and acquiescence with the huge profit earners.

The reform plan makers must be prudent in drafting the road map to end the salt industry monopoly. The administration should not relieve its supervision on the food safety issues for edible salt, which directly concerns the public health. Some private businesses may replace the edible salts with cheaper industrial salts. Second, the reform should avoid some officials who turn State-owned assets to private property through some illegal means under the pretense of market reform, a frequent question appearing in China’s reform of its State-owned enterprises.