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Thursday, October 15, 2015, 21:47

State Council unveils timetable for pricing reform

By Xinhua

BEIJING - China's cabinet set a timetable for reforms to the country's pricing mechanism on Thursday.

China will lift price controls over basically all goods and services in competitive sectors by 2017, according to guidelines released by the State Council.

By then, government-set prices will only exist for key utility services, public-good programs and network industries featuring natural monopolies, such as electricity and water supply.

By 2020, China should have a sound pricing mechanism in which the market plays a decisive role, rational and transparent pricing regulation and a well-enforced anti-monopoly law, according to the guidelines.

Six major areas were highlighted, including farm produce and health care.

Pricing reform has moved swiftly in recent years, with price controls over medicine, telecommunications and transportation relaxed.

Last month, a State Council executive meeting decided to reduce the categories of items with government-set prices from 13 to seven, bringing the total number of items subject to price restrictions down from nearly 100 to 20.

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