China will roll out pilot programs on the business environment in several selected cities in support of local reform effort in better benefitting firms and individuals, the State Council's executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on Wednesday.
The improvement of the business environment is a fulcrum in unleashing market vitality and social creativity, and promoting high-quality development. The implementation of the Regulation on Improving the Business Environment will be advanced and a market-oriented, world-class business environment governed by a sound legal framework will be nurtured across the nation.
On this basis, pilot programs on the business environment will be launched in Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, cities home to a relatively large number of market entities. The goal is to better meet the needs of market entities and the public and align with advanced international standards, by deepening the reform of government functions.
"We need to further deepen the reform of government functions to improve the business environment and more effectively energize market entities," Li said, "During the first half of this year, 77,000 market entities were added on an average day. Revitalizing market entities is crucial for anchoring market expectations and maintaining steady economic performance."
The meeting required greater efforts to break regional compartmentalization and local protectionism. Unwarranted restrictions on cross-regional business operations will be lifted. The hidden barriers against non-local enterprises in such areas as government procurement will be eliminated. Inter-regional recognition and verification of seven types of electronic licenses for passenger and cargo transportation will be promoted.
Market entry and exit will be made more convenient for market players. In addition to issuing paper permits and licenses, electronic business licenses will be issued in tandem, to make it easier for firms to get things done online. Procedures for opening bank accounts will be simplified and the time needed cut. Annual reports for market regulation, social security and tax will be integrated into one.
Exploratory efforts will be made on the market access thresholds in response to the development of new business forms and models. Once a bankruptcy case is filed, bankruptcy administrators are allowed to inquire about information on the enterprises involved held by relevant institutions in accordance with the law, and dispose of seized property without going through the discharge procedures.
Investment and construction will be made more convenient. Competent government departments will conduct a package assessment covering geological disasters and soil and water conservation before approving land use as part of their fulfilling due responsibilities. Enterprises may start construction right away once obtaining the land-use permit, without the need for duplicate assessments. The approaches of pre-commitment compliance and integrated online processing will be applied to granting construction permits of utility access projects including water, electricity, gas and heating.
"We need to solve more issues that acutely affect market entities and better bring out the effect of the country's macro policies. The views of market entities should be better heeded. Companies, especially micro, small, and medium ones, are facing many difficulties now. Their concerns must be taken most seriously. The government must work hard in fostering a market-oriented, world-class business environment governed by a sound legal framework," Li said.
The meeting highlighted the need to open up at a higher level. The online verification of relevant port documents with some major trading partners will be promoted. Business-related registration procedures for investors from Hong Kong and Macao will be streamlined. Bonded fuel service for ships engaged in international voyages will be supported.
Innovative and more effective regulation will be promoted. In areas concerning people's life and health such as food, medicine, vaccine and safety, a punitive compensation system will be implemented. Long-term mechanisms against arbitrary charge, fine and apportion will be established.
Intermediary monopoly and compulsory services will be rectified, and differential treatment of enterprises in the acquisition of qualifications, tendering and bidding, protection of rights and other areas overhauled, to ensure fair competition.
Services for enterprises will be improved. A compensation and relief mechanism will be established for any damage of the lawful rights and interests of enterprises due to policy change and planning adjustment. Unified registration for pledge of movable property and rights will be improved.
Information silos will be addressed at a faster pace. System interconnection and data sharing between departments and localities will be expanded, to help resolve the problem of repetitive requirements for market entities to submit documentation and have more matters handled on a one-stop basis online.
"We need to explore innovative oversight approaches, better bring out the exemplary role of the pilot programs, and accumulate experience, so as to develop a unified and open, competitive and orderly market system," Li said.