Market regulators going easy on first-time violators

Hu Min
Shanghai's market watchdog released two lists of items under which minor violations and irregularities committed by business operators will be exempt from administrative penalties.
Hu Min

Shanghai's market watchdog released 10 more items of impunity for minor violations and irregularities today, covering areas such as pricing and food operations.

The Shanghai Administration for Market Regulation released two lists of 28 items under which minor violations and irregularities committed by business operators will be exempt from administrative penalties.

Based on pricing regulations, businesses may have their illegal profits confiscated and fined up to 5,000 yuan (US$768.5) for failing to mark prices clearly, and the administrative penalty is now exempt for first-time violators.

"The act aims to support the development of small businesses who violate pricing regulations without subjective intention," said Wang Zheng, deputy director of the administration's anti-monopoly and price supervision and inspection office. "Some newly established small businesses are not fully aware of the pricing regulations, and making them rectify is our main purpose."

In addition, food manufacturing and operation businesses that trade on their websites will be exempt from administrative penalties if they fail to register their online platforms, but this only applies to companies with first-time violations -- making rectification timely with no lasting effects.

With the rapid development of the Internet economy, online food manufacturing and operation businesses failing to register is not rare, the administration said.

"The new list also involves metrology and advertisements, and the bottom line for impunity is that no social effect ensues," said Wu Lijun, deputy director of the administration's legal department. "We are enhancing education and promotion instead of levying administrative penalties."

Since the first list was released in 2019, more than 2,100 local businesses have had administrative penalties exempted for minor violations and irregularities, with the majority concerning advertisements, according to the administration. 

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