Red tape cut by State Council meeting led by Premier Li Keqiang
China will keep streamlining administration approvals and reducing red tape to improve its business environment, a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on Wednesday.
The government will expand a pilot reform in Shanghai's Pudong New Area to simplify obtaining a business license by separating it from administrative approvals involving 116 approval items. The reform will be expanded to 10 free trade zones across the country. Provincial governments are authorized to extend the measures to eligible national-level new areas.
A priority is to consolidate or standardize the applications for various approvals, with many of them canceled outright, while some others were turned into record-keeping duties or agreements to fulfill commitments.
The government will improve transparency and predictability of policies, and provide standardized services, and make sure enterprises file records and fulfill their promises in accord with industry standards.
"Cutting red tape, enhancing compliance supervision and improving government services are major measures to transform the government function and advance supply-side structural reform. This government has prioritized reform on approvals and the business registration system, which in essence is to develop a fair and unprejudiced market environment. Facts show that our efforts are paying off," Li said.
Along with the latest measures, the government has cut administrative approvals by 697 items since 2013.
The country had 2.91 million newly registered businesses in the first half of 2017, up by 11.1 percent year-on-year, according to the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.
The meeting participants also decided to step up oversight during the pilot reform process, including more spot checks, self-inspection by associations and use of credit ratings to enhance compliance oversight. Sharing of basic information by government departments on residents, enterprises and social organizations will be boosted to avoid unnecessary submissions and screening redundancies.
"Government departments must be open-minded. Approval procedures are necessary, but they are not a panacea, especially in terms of compliance oversight. We should keep working on the application of the principle, which is that the responsibility for oversight rests with those who issue the approval and those who are in charge," Li said.
To further spur market vitality and boost entrepreneurship and innovation, participants decided on the cancellation of 52 administrative approvals by central government departments. The approvals are mostly about employment, entrepreneurship, investment and doing business.
Some are unnecessary, given the mature market, which can self-regulate. This enables government departments to concentrate on developing standards and doing compliance oversight. Some approvals overlap.
The meeting also decided to cancel 22 administrative approvals, delegated by central government departments to lower levels of government, most of which pertain to enterprise operation, innovation and entrepreneurship.
"We need to take concrete measures to ensure the reform measures are implemented in full, create a fair and unprejudiced environment, and benefit the life of the public, their entrepreneurship endeavors and the operations of businesses," Li said.