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Government takes action on key issues

Hu Yongqi
Updated: Mar 3,2019 9:32 AM     China Daily

Last year, the State Administration for Market Regulation uncovered 774 cases of illegal advertising, fraud and counterfeiting in the healthcare products sector, with fines of 159 million yuan ($23.7 million) imposed on violators. The campaigns helped prevent and recover economic losses of 33.59 million yuan among consumers.

This partly resulted from the administration’s handling of national legislators’ suggestions and political advisers’ proposals, with legislators and political advisers showing great concern over market conditions and the business environment at large.

“We have actively adopted their constructive ideas, which vigorously boosted business reforms and created a more attractive environment for market entities,” said Tang Jun, the administration’s deputy head, last week in a joint news conference hosted by the State Council Information Office.

The administration’s follow-ups on such suggestions and proposals were also exemplified by various State Council department endeavors to employ the ideas of lawmakers and political advisers when it came to policymaking and implementation.

As the annual sessions of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference kick off, legislators and political advisers are expected to continue making constructive contributions to improving governmental policies in diverse fields and play a vital role in the country’s social and economic governance.

Xi Yanchun, a spokeswoman for the State Council Information Office, said at the policy briefing on Feb 27 that State Council departments handled 6,319 suggestions by national legislators and 3,863 proposals by national political advisers last year, focusing on high-quality development, supply-side structural reforms, and other areas. Many suggestions and proposals were about administrative reform and the transformation of governmental functions.

Business system reform has been prioritized over the past few years as the State Council, the country’s Cabinet, strives to create a more welcoming environment for businesses, domestic and foreign, as well as private and State-owned enterprises. The issue has also been a priority for NPC deputies and CPPCC National Committee members, who put forward 560 suggestions and proposals to the administration last year, Tang said. All were handled on time.

In last year’s Government Work Report, Premier Li Keqiang pledged to improve China’s business environment to increase its competitiveness and invigorate market entities.

Eight of 35 State Council executive meetings presided over by Premier Li last year focused on improving the business environment.

For instance, it was decided at the executive meeting on May 2 to halve the time needed to open an enterprise and acquire construction project approvals. The executive meeting on July 18 called for the time needed to gain real estate registration to be shortened to 15 working days by the end of last year.

As of February, the number of China’s registered market entities rose to 111 million, including 35 million enterprises, according to the State Administration for Market Regulation. More than 18,000 market entities are newly registered each day.

These efforts helped China jump 32 places to 46th last year in the business environment rankings in Doing Business 2019 — a list released by the World Bank in October. China was among the 10 economies showing the most notable improvement.

Zou Zhiwu, deputy head of the General Administration of Customs, said handling suggestions and proposals is beneficial to achieving better policymaking. For example, General Administration of Customs authorities took ideas from lawmakers and political advisers into consideration when drafting documents on improving the cross-border business environment and building comprehensive bonded areas last year, Zou said. The two documents were then approved by the State Council and are now in effect.

Zou also said suggestions and proposals can help identify and promote key tasks. For example, some deputies were concerned with illegal imports of garbage, which they suggested should be stopped via stringent monitoring and crackdowns. The administration has since effectively controlled the situation, he said.

Similar stories occurred at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. Vice-Minister Zhuang Guotai said governmental officials should fully understand the intent behind these suggestions and proposals by strengthening exchanges with NPC deputies and CPPCC members.

The lawmakers and political advisers carried out extensive surveys and research before submitting documents, Zhuang said. The government should focus on transforming suggestions and proposals into real policies and plans, he said.

Air pollution remains a focal point among NPC deputies and CPPCC National Committee members. They offered many targeted suggestions and proposals, including expanding the areas being monitored, overhauling the energy structure and strengthening regional coordination, Zhuang said.

Air quality has improved, especially in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei cluster and surrounding areas. Last year, the ministry handled about 100 suggestions and proposals on air quality, one-third fewer than in 2017, he said.

“Regarding air pollution controls, we can see many suggestions and proposals have became concrete policies and objectives,” Zhuang added.

The information office spokeswoman Xi said more than 98 percent of NPC deputies and CPPCC National Committee members were satisfied with the follow-ups.