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China to optimize business environment

The State Council made arrangements to optimize the business environment to stimulate market vitality and social creativity, at an executive meeting Wednesday.

Premier Li Keqiang, who chaired the meeting, called for universal use of a negative list of sectors and businesses off limits to foreign investment to control market entry.

Optimizing business environment would help productivity and competitiveness, he said.

The business environment is the foundation for developing a modern economy and ensuring high-quality development, the premier said.

Greater efforts should be made in streamlining administration, compliance oversight and offering better services. An internationally competitive business environment would have equal treatment for domestic and foreign enterprises and stimulate market entities and social creativity," he said.

China was ranked the 78th in ease of doing business, according to a 2017 report by the World Bank, up from the 96th place in 2013.

The government will cut red tapes, reduce taxes and slash fees for enterprises.

It was decided at the meeting that more efforts will be made to slash or cancel fees paid by enterprises, including operational and service fees and fees charged by sectoral associations and chambers of commerce. Costs for customs clearance will be lowered.

The government will further simply the procedures of administrative review and speed up approval procedures for business start-up, tax payments, application for construction permit and water, electricity and gas services, and real estate registration. The slashing of electricity price will also be a priority.

A new oversight mechanism characterized by integrity and information disclosure will be established at a faster pace. A unified punishment mechanism for breaches will be improved. An evaluation mechanism for business environment will be established, and rolled out nationwide over time. Special sectoral measures will be unveiled to facilitate the application for construction permits and cross-border trade.

"There is still much more that we can do to streamline administration, enhance compliance oversight and improve services. We should foster a more enabling business environment to incentivize a visible improvement in the ease of doing business for entrepreneurs, market entities and the general public," Li said.

A series of measures have been taken by the current government to cut red tape, reduce corporate burdens and improve the business environment. It has canceled or delegated administrative approval by the State Council bodies on 697 items, which account for 45 percent of the total.

The government also shortened the list of intermediary services for administrative approval by 323 items, or 74 percent of the total, and canceled professional qualification and certification requirements for 434 items, more than 70 percent of the total.

China should improve investment and market environment, make bigger strides in opening up, reduce the cost of market functioning and create a stable, fair, transparent and predictable business environment. In this way the government can speed up the development of new institutions of the open economy and promote sustained and sound economic growth.

The meeting also agreed to deepen reform of the science system, enhance basic science research and promote original innovation capacity to implement the innovation-driven development strategy.

To this end, the country will enhance integration of basic science and application study, stimulate enterprises, universities and institutions to increase investment on fundamental researches.

The government will also promote international scientific research cooperation and support overseas scientists to lead or participate in science projects.