State breaks monopoly in oil trade

By Shan Juan (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-03-26 06:52

China has issued new guidelines on private companies' entrance into crude and processed oil wholesale business, further breaking the State monopoly in the market.

The guidelines in the form of two documents, released by the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) over the weekend, gives details of how domestic and overseas companies can apply to enter the crude and processed oil market.

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Domestic private companies' applications would need 40 working days to be processed, while those of overseas ones would need four months.

The rules offer a level playing field to overseas and overseas-funded companies in the country's wholesale oil sector.

Also, the market access threshold for domestic companies has been largely lowered. The earlier restriction on the number of gas stations a private company could own has been lifted.

The guidelines are based on two regulations issued by MOC last year, which was aimed at breaking the monopoly of State-owed enterprises in the oil market, Xinhua News Agency has reported. The regulations were in accordance with China's commitments to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and opened up the oil market to overseas and domestic private players from December 11, 2006.

Before that, the government used to control the wholesale crude market through the country's two biggest oil firms, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec).


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