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China further cuts red tape to improve business environment
2017/09/07

BEIJING, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- China will keep streamlining administrative approvals and cutting red tape to improve business environment, a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday decided.

The government will expand a pilot reform already in trial in the Shanghai Pudong New Area on separating operation permits with business licenses and clearing 116 approval items, to 10 free trade zones across the country, including those in Tianjin, Chongqing, Liaoning and Zhejiang. Provincial governments are authorized to extend the measures to eligible national-level new areas, innovation demonstration zones, high-tech industry zones and economic and technology development zones.

A priority of the reform is to standardize various administrative approvals. Many of them will be canceled, while some others will be switched to simpler approaches.

The government will improve transparency and predictability of policies and provide standardized services, and make sure enterprises conduct the filings and fulfill their promises in accord with industry standards.

"Streamlining approvals, delegating power to lower levels and improving regulation and services are major measures to transform government functions and advance supply-side structural reform. This term of government has prioritized the reform of the approval system and institutional reform in the business sector, which in essence aim to develop a fair and just market environment. Facts showed that our efforts are paying off," Li said.

The meeting on Wednesday also decided to step up regular oversight during the pilot reform process, with more efforts going to spot checks, self-inspection inside industrial associations and credit rating practices to enhance compliance oversight.

The sharing of basic information of residents, enterprises and social organizations among government departments will be boosted to avoid unnecessary submissions, inspections and certifications.

"Government departments must be open-minded. Due approval procedures are necessary, but they are not a panacea, especially in terms of compliance oversight. We should continue to follow and improve the principle that the responsibility of oversight goes to those who give the approval and who take charge," Li said.

To further spur market vitality and encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, the meeting decided that the government will cancel 52 administrative approvals by central government departments.

The approvals are mostly related to employment and entrepreneurship, investment and doing business. Some of them are no longer necessary because of maturing market conditions. Canceling approvals enables the government departments to transform their functions to developing industry standards and performing oversight.

The meeting also decided to cancel 22 administrative approvals delegated by central government departments to lower-level governments, most of which are related to enterprise operation, innovation and entrepreneurship.

"We need to take concrete measures to ensure the full implementation of reform measures, create a fair and just environment, and bring convenience to people's lives and entrepreneurship endeavors, as well as the operations of businesses," Li said.

Taking into account the latest measures, this term of government has cut administrative approvals by 697 items. Statistics show that the country had 2.91 million new businesses registered in the first half of 2017, up by 11.1 percent year on year.

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