China Business Network:
I have a question on food security, which is closely related to people's lives. During epidemic prevention and control, what preferential measures have market regulation administrations introduced to help food production and operation enterprises resume work in an orderly way? Thank you.
Thank you for your question. During the unexpected COVID-19 outbreak, food remains the top concern related to people's daily lives among all the basic needs. According to features and regulatory requirements of food consumption during the epidemic prevention and control period, the SAMR issued a notice deploying market regulation administrations at all levels to strengthen food supervision in key fields, venues and links to ensure food security for all people. It especially encourages food enterprises to actively participate in the "three guarantees" campaign of stabilizing prices, maintaining quality and ensuring supply. Now, nearly half of the 7,000 enterprises participating in the campaign are leading food enterprises above designated size. They are playing an important role in the campaign by contributing greatly in driving the whole food industry to resume work and production in an orderly way to ensure the food supply and maintain market stability.
In addition to ensuring food security, market regulation administrations at all levels are analyzing the real situation of epidemic prevention and control as they leverage their assistance abilities and employ a wide variety of strategies to support food production and operation enterprises in resumption of work. Measures include the following:
First, licensing can be extended. During the period of epidemic prevention and control, if a food production and operation license expires, local administrations for market regulation can extend its validity until the epidemic situation lifts, which is a great convenience for relevant people.
Second, a license can be issued after a food production enterprise makes commitments. During the epidemic prevention and control, local administrations for market regulation can explore and implement a promissory commitment mechanism in combination with food security risk classification management. For new enterprises applying for food production licensing and enterprises applying for a change in food production licensing that normally requires on-site verification, provincial-level market regulation administrations can pilot in accepting promissory commitments from low-risk food enterprises and granting permissions for operation before inspection, which means they issue the licenses for production first, and then conduct on-site inspection within 30 working days.
Third, the whole license application procedure can be done online. Market regulation administrations are harnessing "internet plus" technology to process applications for food production and operation licensing including acceptance, examinations, certification, inquiries and publicity. The administrations are promoting issuance of electronic licenses, which enables enterprises to apply for licensing online and improves efficiency.
Fourth, the licensing approval process can be accelerated. Since implementation of epidemic prevention and control measures, market regulation administrations at all levels have accelerated the approval process of food production and operation licensing to support food enterprises in increasing production, ensuring quality, stabilizing development and overcoming difficulties. This has created good conditions for enterprises to resume work and production.
For the next step, the SAMR will guide and support leading food enterprises to further enhance the effects of the "three guarantees" campaign. Great efforts are being made to expand the role of online platforms in facilitating contactless transactions and promote distribution modes that create a healthier food consumption environment. Since the number of people eating out and purchasing food outside has sharply decreased during the epidemic, offline food enterprises have been encouraged to develop online operations to help offset the loss of offline business. We are encouraging e-commerce platforms to launch more preferential measures to help consumers and merchants using them.
The SAMR will continue to work with all sectors of society to fully prepare for total recovery by promoting innovation and development of the food industry during and after the outbreak. Thank you.