The government will do more to resolve the concerns of businesses identified during State Council inspection tours, ensure full delivery of all pro-business policies and build a national Internet Plus regulation system to make government regulation smarter, more standardized and better targeted, the State Council decided during an executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Oct 22.
The government places high importance on improving the business environment. President Xi Jinping stressed the need to improve the investment and market environment, cut the cost of market operations and foster a stable, fair, transparent and predictable business environment. Premier Li pointed out that it is critical to deepen the reform of government functions for notable improvement in the business environment to improve market exceptions and boost market confidence.
“We need to foster a market-driven, law-based business environment that meets international standards,” Premier Li said. “The reform of government functions in the past several years has delivered real benefits to market entities. The international community also regards the improvement of our business environment as an important condition for cooperation with China.”
The government must redouble its efforts for a more enabling business environment by resolving the pressing concerns of businesses, delivering on all policy incentives and eliminating the obstacles to business development to bolster corporate confidence and competitiveness, those at the meeting decided.
Market access restrictions on private investors will be further eased. An updated version of the market access negative list will be released and fully implemented by the end of the year. All market access restrictions on foreign investors that are not on the negative list will be eliminated by next March, creating a level playing field for investors from both home and abroad.
The number of items subject to government approval will be cut. All existing items requiring government approval will be thoroughly reviewed, and a list of administrative review items will be released by the end of next March when any administrative review conducted outside the list’s purview will be seen as a breach of regulation.
The reviewing procedures for corporate investment will be further streamlined. Measures for reforming the process of business registration cancellation will be formulated by the end of the year.
The meeting also urged reducing the tax and fee burden on enterprises, as well as their social security contribution rate. More concrete measures shall be formulated in these respects.
The government must enhance the efficacy of its services. These services must be standardized. The items subject to administrative penalty will be streamlined and measures to regulate the exercise of discretion will be formulated. No arbitrariness or a one-size-fits-all approach will be allowed in law enforcement.
“There is a direct linkage between the state of a business environment and efforts of the government,” Premier Li said. “It is important that the government works out a law-based list of items subject to government approval. Issuance of a business license and that of administrative permits must be decoupled.”
To improve compliance oversight and build on the regulatory approach of random selection of inspectors and market entities to be inspected, as well as public release of the inspection results, it was decided at the meeting that an Internet Plus regulation system will be established based on the national government service platform.
This will enhance oversight of the regulatory work of local authorities and government departments, and help forestall and detect lurking problems and cross-sectoral, inter-regional risks by pooling and sharing information. This system will be uploaded online with the national government service platform by the end of next September.
“We must lose no time in building a ‘nerve center’ for government regulation, and the Internet Plus approach is a good way to start,” Premier Li said. “Given the uneven regulatory capacities across regions and departments and lack of information sharing, the key to a successful Internet Plus regulation platform is to ensure that all information is shared and open to the public. This will help level the playing field for all businesses.”