China's Ministry of Commerce has drafted a rule on the use
of paid plastic bags and is soliciting suggestions for the
rule across the country.
As part of the rule, the Ministry of Commerce will punish
supermarkets and shopping malls that provide free plastic
bags to consumers after this rule is enacted on June 1, 2008.
The Ministry of Commerce's new rule asks that the price of
plastic bags must not be lower than their cost and the retail
sites must not give away any free plastic bags to consumers
by any means - including offering discounts - or they will
be fined up to RMB30,000 (approx. €2,800).
In addition, the rule says that retail sites should order
plastic bags from manufacturers whose plastic bags meet the
national standard and ask for a sales voucher from the manufacturers
for any future check by the government supervision department.
The rule also states that retailers who use unqualified plastic
bags will be issued a warning, ordered to destroy the bags
or fined up to RMB30,000. The rule says that retailers must
mark the price of the plastic bags on their sales voucher,
but must not include the price of the bags as part of the
goods purchased by the consumers. Violators of this will be
fined up to RMB5,000 (approx. €450).
Regarding agricultural markets where the supervision is hard
to monitor, the rule points out that all agricultural markets
and commodity exchange markets must make a unified purchase
and sales of plastic bags and mark their price in prominent
places. In addition, they should keep a record of the plastic
bag purchases for checking. The rule says those who don't
follow this will be fined up to RMB20,000 (approx. €1,800).
The plastic bags mentioned in the rule mainly refer to those
provided by retailers to consumers to hold their goods and
don't cover those plastic packages for fresh and raw food,
cooked food and noodles. The retailers in the rule refer to
the retailing shops, supermarkets and commodity exchange markets.