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National campaign focuses on alcohol market
By Qin Yan (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-09-30 02:14

A three-month national campaign was launched Wednesday to keep China's alcohol market on the right track.

The campaign targets regional protectionism, fake products and uncertified producers and retailers.

It is a joint effort of the Ministry of Commerce, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

Drinking alcohol is a long tradition in China. Drinking sprees are particularly common during festive occasions such as the Spring Festival and the coming National Day.

However, there have been many reports about fake alcohol poisoning people in recent years.

One of the latest accidents happened in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province in May, when 11 died.

In addition, various forms of regional protectionism are also affecting the market, said Assistant Minister of Commerce Huang Hai Wednesday during a teleconference.

Some regions impose unreasonable charges on imported alcohol and some even harbour the manufacture of fake products.

Meanwhile, driven by the lucrativeness of the alcohol business, many companies produce or sell alcohol products without any kind of certificate, Huang said.

Huang called on local governments to eliminate regulations and policies that exclude products from other places and impede fair competition.

By the end of October, the changes should be submitted to the Ministry of Commerce.

Meanwhile, alcohol companies are asked to check their storage and government authorities will supervise them and conduct selective inspection. Unqualified products will be destroyed.

Places that sell alcohol, such as trade markets and restaurants, will be inspected to phase out fake products.

Huang said a long term system of alcohol management will be set up to ensure market order.

Draft standards for rectifying wholesale and individual retailing are expected to be enacted by the end of the year.

Commerce departments will try to make sure that only qualified companies and products can enter the alcohol market.

In addition, a credit system will be set up to keep a record of bad and good alcohol companies.

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