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New Measures to Ensure Pork, Edible Oil Supply

The Ministry of Commerce will take measures to ensure the supply of pork and edible oil, whose prices have risen over the past few weeks.

According to Wang Xinpei, a ministry spokesman, efforts will be made to facilitate distribution of pork and edible oil. The creation of an emergency supply network will be sped up and the pork reserve system will be improved.

Illegal slaughtering of pigs and other violations of the law such as the sale of pigs injected with water or pork from diseased pigs will be cracked down upon to ensure the safety of the pork supply, Wang said.

On November 5, the pork price, although down 7.5 percent from the record high in early August, was back up to 5.4 percent higher than the level in early October.

The price hike was attributed to mounting demand and the growing costs of pig raising and transport.

Meanwhile, the average retail price of peanut oil, soybean oil and rapeseed oil went up 1.1 percent, 1.0 percent and 0.7 percent respectively from early October.

These price rises were attributed to declines in the production of oil-bearing crops both at home and abroad.

Major edible oil manufacturers and traders nationwide were urged again on Tuesday by the central government to exercise self-discipline and to be reasonable in price-setting in the wake of rising market prices.

In a harshly-worded statement, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the nation's top economic planning agency which oversees price affairs and other economic and social matters, said edible oil producers and traders would face punishment, including fines of up to 300,000 yuan (US$40,000), and have their business licenses revoked for any violation of pricing laws and regulations.

Major edible oil maker executives and guild leaders were summoned to Beijing on Monday by the commission for a closed door meeting where the government asked them to step up production to rein in the soaring market prices.

(Xinhua News Agency November 9, 2007)

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