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Market’s role enhanced in natural resources fee shake-up

Updated: Jan 16,2017 6:22 PM

China will change the way fees are charged for state-owned natural resources, under a guideline issued by the State Council on Jan 16.

Ownership and rights to use state-owned natural resources will be split and a public trading platform set up.

Under a more flexible system, the use rights-holders will be able to relinquish, transfer, lease, guarantee or convert their rights to shares.

The guideline is aimed at enhancing the market’s role in allocating resources while the government focuses on service regulation to protect the legal rights of owners and users and protect and exploit natural resources more effectively.

According to China’s constitution, natural resources in China belong to either the State or collectives.

The new measures cover several fields, including state-owned lands, waters, minerals, forests grasslands and islands.

Payment will be required to use state-owned land for construction and agriculture.

The document also states that stricter approval conditions and procedures will be issued in order to better protect the ecosystem.

The charges on underground water will be raised, especially in water-scarce areas. Trading platforms to determine water usage rights will be set up.

As for the mineral industry, fees will be applied for the use of mineral resources, integrating separate charges for prospecting and mining rights.

Protection on forests was also underlined in the guideline. It declares that state-owned forests in national parks, natural reserves, forest parks, wetlands and wild woods should not be surrendered.

Ecology is also the number one concern in the use of grasslands, seas and islands.

“Natural coastlines should account for more than 35 percent of the total,” the guideline said.