China is cutting the number of products whose manufacturing requires official licensing.
The decision was made at a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday.
The 19 categories include water pipes and rechargeable batteries. The manufacturing licenses required for electric blankets and helmets for motorists are giving way to China Compulsory Certification, the meeting has decided.
The premier said that industry is the pillar of real economy. The existing licensing system needs a thorough overhaul and a major streamlining, keeping a tight list of those that do need to follow the current practice and also speeding up the transition to product certification, he said.
"We need to free the hands of businesses for their innovation and operation. It is pivotal to the upgrading of the real economy," he said.
The practice of production licensing was introduced in 1984 for quality supervision. Companies must obtain the license before their products go into production. The number of categories of products that requires official licensing has since been reduced from 487 to the current 60.
Premier Li said when meeting the press in March that the government should send a resounding "yes" to all law-abiding market entities, and give the green light to "go ahead" to all hardworking entrepreneurs and innovators. Breaches of laws and regulations must be warned with a yellow card, or even a red one when necessary.
"Fewer licensing requirements don't mean less responsibility. On the contrary, they now have a greater responsibility to the consumers," Li said at the Wednesday meeting.
It will also pose higher requirements to enterprises to ensure the quality of products.
Government departments concerned should further step up compliance oversight, and waste no time in developing compulsory certification standards, he added.
"There should be no overlap though," he said. The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, China's quality watchdog, will delegate the licensing authority of another eight categories of products, including feed grinders, to provincial-level quality supervision departments, the meeting decided.
The country will also pilot reform to streamline procedures for manufacturing license application in some designated areas and industries. Companies can present a qualification report conducted by an eligible agency instead of going through pre-licensing production inspection.
Government departments can also conduct the on-the-scene inspection for companies after, rather than before, they have obtained the manufacturing license, rather than before the issuance, to enable companies to start their production in a timely manner. The quality watchdogs will also step up compliance oversight in the form of spot checks after the issuing of licenses to ensure the quality of products.