The national price regulator yesterday lashed out at a food
association for colluding with its member companies to manipulate
The China branch of the International Ramen Manufactures
Association (IRMA), which is also referred to as the China branch
of the Instant Noodle Association by the media, had since last year
organized three meetings to discuss price rises, according to a
statement on the website of the National Development and Reform
The timetable and scope of the price rises were worked out
during the three meetings, the statement said.
And the noodle companies involved have successively raised their
prices since June this year in accordance with the consensus
reached during those meetings.
The statement said the association had plotted many times to
raise prices collectively and intentionally revealed news of price
rises to the media, which led to a noodle-buying spree in some
"These activities have severely disrupted the market price
order, hindered the fair competition of businessmen and damaged the
legal rights of consumers," it said.
The NDRC said the association had violated the price law and
ordered it to redress its mistakes and make public explanation to
disperse the negative impact of its actions.
And more harsh punishments are likely as the investigation
unfolds, it added.
The statement quoted an anonymous NDRC official as saying that
the price of instant noodles should be adjusted by the market.
He said that it was understandable that noodle companies would
float their prices a little given the rising costs of ingredients
this year, but trade associations are strictly banned from
colluding to manipulate prices.
The official also told other trade associations to learn a
lesson and warned them to against plotting collective price
The harshly worded criticism came at a time when food prices are
soaring nationwide, which drove the country's inflation rate to a
10-year high last month.
It also follows an announcement by the NDRC that it would wage a
campaign targeting businessmen who collude on price rises.
The State Council has also rolled out a series of measures
urging local governments to stabilize food prices with a steady
The IRMA declined to comment yesterday, but Meng Suhe, an
official from the association denied any direct connection between
the meeting and price rises in an interview with the China News
Service last month.
(China Daily August 17, 2007)