China will open up its salt market beginning next year, the state planning agency said on Sunday, in the government’s latest step to shake up an ancient government salt monopoly. Starting on Jan. 1, 2017, China will open edible salt markets with producers determining retail and wholesale prices based on factors such as production costs, salt quality, supply and demand, the National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement on its website.
The agency also said that under “special circumstances” regulators could take temporary or emergency measures to maintain edible salt price stability and “prevent abnormal fluctuations in price.”
China announced initial plans to break up the state salt monopoly earlier this year.
The government has held a monopoly over salt for more than 2,000 years according to state-owned news agency Xinhua, with salt revenues providing a key source of funds in ancient times.