According to the requirements of the “Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Some Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening the Reform” that “we will implement a unified market access system; and on the basis of making a negative list, all kinds of market players may enter areas not on the negative list on an equal basis and according to the law,” as well as the “Opinions of the State Council on Enhancing Fair Play in the Market and Keeping the Market in Normal Order” (State Council Doc. No. 20 ) concerning “the reform on the market access system”, the State Council has decided to implement the pilot negative list system for market access in some selected areas of China. The plan is hereby formulated for the purpose of promoting the reform coordinately in a proper order.
The negative list system for market access refers to a series of institutional arrangements where the State Council clarifies in a list the sectors, areas and businesses prohibited or restricted from the market within the territory of the People’s Republic of China and local governments at all levels take corresponding management measures in accordance with the law. All kinds of market players may enter sectors, areas and businesses not on the negative list on an equal basis and according to the law.
The plan shall be applicable to the regions approved by the State Council to carry out the pilot reform of the negative list system for market access. While in the regions unlisted for the pilot reform, the existing management mode shall prevail.
The pilot reform shall properly deal with the relationship between the government and the market following the principle of streamlining administration and delegating government power, law-based regulation, fairness and transparency, the integration of power and responsibility, the joint governance of the government, market and society, so as to make the market play a decisive role in the allocation of resources and better play the role of the government. The negative list for market access shall be drawn up in compliance with the principles of the rule of law, security, progression, necessity and openness.
In the pilot regions, institutional innovation shall be taken as the core mission, and the forming of institutional experience that is replicable and widely applicable shall be viewed as a basic requirement.
The provincial-level governments in the pilot regions shall work out a plan for trial implementation of the negative list system for market access in accordance with the draft negative list system for market access (for trial implementation) initiated, collected and approved by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce. The plan shall come into force after being submitted to the State Council for approval.
While exploring the procedures of drawing up, implementing and adjusting a negative list for market access, the pilot regions should constantly deepen relevant reforms, establish and improve the access mechanism, the review and approval mechanism, the supervision mechanism, the social credit-rating system and the credit-related incentive and punishment mechanism, the information disclosure and sharing systems, the investment system, the business registration system and the management system for foreign investment to meet the requirement of the negative list system for market access, foster the market environment for fair trade and competition, and make suggestions for the improvement of laws and regulations to meet the requirement of the negative list system for market access.
During the pilot period, all kinds of market players shall not invest in the sectors, areas and businesses where market access is prohibited. They shall not invest in the sectors, areas and businesses where market access is restricted until the investment and business operations get approval or other administrative affirmation in accordance with laws, administrative regulations and the relevant provisions of the State Council decisions. All kinds of market players may enter sectors, areas and businesses not on the negative list on an equal basis and according to the law, and no longer require government approval. Following the principle of easing restrictions and strengthening regulation where necessary, relevant departments should give an overall consideration to factors such as national security, ecological environment, interests of the people and workplace safety, improve the indicator system for comprehensive evaluation, ensure enterprises to bear the primary responsibility, strengthen supervision according to the law, establish an accountability mechanism for safety review and supervision, and form a new pattern featured with government supervision, enterprise autonomy, industry self-regulation and social supervision. For the items on the negative list for market access, taking different instances into account, relevant departments may explore the means of making a pre-access pledge and further enhance the implementation of other supporting measures such as conducting informative recordation and disclosing information about access.
During the pilot period, the provincial-level governments in the pilot regions should make suggestions for the adjustment of the negative list for market access according to the ongoing reform and the outstanding problems from all kinds of market players. These suggestions shall come into force after being submitted to the State Council for approval.
During the pilot period, the provincial-level governments in the pilot regions, subject to the authorization and approval of the State Council, are entitled to make temporary revisions to relevant provisions including the Guiding Catalog for Industrial Restructuring and the List of Investment Projects Requiring Government Review and Approval according to the requirements for implementing the negative list system for market access. Where the implementation of the relevant laws, administrative regulations and their relevant provisions are suspended, it should be handled in accordance with legal procedures.
The provincial-level governments in the pilot regions should strengthen organizational leadership and overall coordination, establish the working mechanism including process management, warning and forecasting, information feedback and dynamic performance evaluation, improve supporting policies and measures, and ensure substantive progress on the reform.
The National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce shall take the lead in the guidance, coordination, surveillance and evaluation of the pilot reform of the negative list system for market access and report significant issues and problems to the State Council. Relevant departments should enhance coordination with the pilot regions and try out the reform measures to optimize the market access management there.
The pilot regions should review experience timely, get ready to spot budding, tendentious and potential problems, correct deviation and improve policies in a timely manner to make solid progress in the work and ensure the reform to be achieved as scheduled.
The provincial-level governments in the pilot regions should submit reports on the pilot reform regularly to the State Council. The midterm evaluation report shall be submitted within one month after the pilot reform being implemented for one year and the final report shall be submitted within two months after the pilot reform expires.
During the pilot period, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce shall take the lead to introduce a third party for objective investigation and comprehensive evaluation of the implementation, effects, experience, existing problems and influential factors of the reform, and make suggestions to improve it. The third-party evaluation shall be preferred for the above mid-term and final evaluation reports.
The interpretation of the plan shall be subject to the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce.
The plan shall go into effect as of December 1, 2015 and expire on December 31, 2017.
Translators’ note: In case of discrepancy, the Chinese language version (http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/content/2015-10/19/content_10247.htm) shall prevail.