BEIJING, April 19 (Xinhua) -- China on Tuesday defended its controversial talks with firms on stabilizing prices, saying they are not a form of administrative intervention.
The talks are aimed to remind firms to abide by the country's laws and regulations and prevent collusive price increases and follow-suit practices, said Zhou Wangjun, deputy head of the pricing department at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's top economic planner.
The NDRC and other ministries have hauled in representatives from firms of daily consumer products for talks over their price hikes since March, which spurred criticism of administrative intervention and disruption to the market order.
"It is not an administrative intervention," Zhou noted, adding China respects the autonomy of pricing.
The talks came as the Chinese government is endeavoring to combat stubbornly high inflation, which rose 4.9 percent year on year in February and then quickened to a 32-month high of 5.4 percent in March.