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China's national industry federation urges private companies not to raise prices

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BEIJING, April 13 (Xinhua) -- The All-China Federation of Industry & Commerce on Wednesday appealed to private companies not to raise prices amid the country's rising pressure from inflation.

The call went out in a proposal letter issued on Wednesday by 24 of the 28 industry groups under the federation, including the agricultural, bakery, fishing, pharmaceutical, and textile sectors.

Further, companies must not join together to raise prices or manipulate prices by reducing supplies, the letter says.

"Ensuring supplies and stabilizing prices are the major responsibilities of industry groups and companies," the letter reads.

"As the biggest beneficiary of, and major contributor to, China's reform and opening up, companies should shoulder social responsibilities, help tackle the nation' s worries and solve the difficulties of its people," it says.

Li Shulin, an executive in the federation's membership department, said that these 24 industry groups represent tens of thousands of firms, and most of them are closely related to the production, processing and circulation of consumer goods.

At an executive meeting presided over by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday, the State Council, China's Cabinet, issued new calls to keep overall price levels stable, saying it was "the top priority for current macro regulations."

China's consumer price index (CPI) rose 4.9 percent over the previous year in February, reaching the same level as in January, while the central government aims to keep the CPI, a main gauge of inflation, at around 4 percent this year.

To ease inflationary pressures, China has hiked interest rates twice and raised the reserve requirement ratio of banks three times this year.

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