Zone innovation targeted
The State Council has moved to boost innovation in national economic and technological development zones to enable them to continue to take a leading role in its reform and opening-up.
The State Council’s executive meeting, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on May 8, called for steps to promote openness, innovation in science and institution-building and stimulate market vitality at the development zones.
The zones will receive more support in bettering their business environment and furthering reform to streamline administration, enhance compliance oversight and improve government services, according to a statement released after the meeting.
A simpler approval process will be adopted for investment projects, and the practice of pre-commitment of compliance will be pushed forward. Performance in attracting investment will be included as part of the assessment and incentive system in the national zones.
Entrepreneurs and innovators working in the zones will enjoy more convenience and support in household registration, border entry and exit, children’s schooling, housing and venture investment.
The meeting also urged local authorities to give the zones greater autonomy in reform for greater vitality and fairness in policies.
The government will enhance support for technological innovation in areas such as the construction of large national science infrastructure and national science and technology innovation bases.
More support will be given to talent training bases jointly run by the national zones and vocational schools.
The opening-up of these zones will be bolstered by attracting private and foreign investors to develop and run industrial parks with distinctive features, the statement said.
Organizations, companies and investors from Hong Kong, Macao and foreign countries will be encouraged to participate in the running of international cooperation parks in these zones. Comprehensive bonded zones will be set up, it said.
The government will support pilot programs to facilitate foreign exchange settlement and payment of revenue under the capital accounts in these national zones where conditions permit.
The country’s 219 national economic and technological development zones contribute around 10 percent to the national GDP and some 20 percent to the country’s foreign trade and paid-in foreign investment, according to the cabinet.
Grand Canal protection
China will bolster the protection and development of the heritage of the Grand Canal, the world’s longest man-made waterway, according to a plan issued on May 9.
The plan, issued by the general offices of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, said a belt featuring cultural, ecological and tourist development will be built along the canal’s existing main course.
The plan recognized that the Grand Canal is faced with mounting challenges in heritage protection, reduction in ecological space, and rigorous situations in resources and environment.
It called for authorities to focus on efforts in protecting the canal’s cultural heritage, improving its water resources, building a green ecological corridor and promoting culture and tourism.
A work mechanism will be established to coordinate the implementation of the plan, with the eight provincial areas along the canal designated as the main actors for advancing the initiative.
With a history of over 2,500 years, the Grand Canal is almost 3,200 kilometers long in total. Over 1,000 km of the canal was recognized as a world heritage site in 2014.