Streamlining will continue to expand
Administrative approvals will continue to be streamlined and red tape slashed to improve the business environment, according to a statement released after a State Council executive meeting on Jan 17. The meeting was chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.
It was decided at the meeting that a pilot reform on streamlining administrative approvals will be carried out in Shanghai’s Pudong New Area. This will cut or simplify another 47 approval items, after all of China’s free trade zones have separated operation permits from business licenses and cleared 116 approval items. The 47 approval items will cover fields including medical care, investment, construction, transportation and quality supervision. While services need to be more simplified and improved, supervision needs to be strengthened, the meeting stressed.
Guanzhong urban plan gets approval
The State Council approved a development plan for the Guanzhong Plain urban cluster on Jan 15. It stressed that the development of the cluster should combine high-end elements and modern industries while sticking to the supply-side structural reform as well as innovation driven development, so that the area will play a core role in the development of Northwest China. The cluster’s design and development should reflect Chinese characteristics and elements. The cluster will include major cities in Shaanxi, Shanxi and Gansu provinces. The local governments of Shanxi, Shaanxi and Gansu need to better coordinate with one another, and the government will issue favorable policies to the cluster in institutional innovation and key construction projects. Major issues concerning the cluster development need to be reported to the State Council.
Shenzhen boundary fences to be removed
The State Council issued a guideline on Jan 15 approving the removal of the line that used to mark the boundary between the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone and the rest of the city.
The boundary line, set up in 1982 with wire fences that ran for 84.6 kilometers, marked the geographic boundary for China’s first special economic zone inside Shenzhen in 1980.
The guideline urges the city government of Shenzhen and the provincial government of Guangdong to take this opportunity to further optimize Shenzhen’s city design, improve public transportation, enhance environmental and ecological protection, and gradually improve public services and facilities.
It stressed that the next step in the development of Shenzhen should realize high-quality urbanization. The boundary administration between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Guangdong should be strengthened, the guideline stressed.
Provinces to better protect farmland
The State Council recently released a revised version of assessment guidelines for provincial government work on farmland protection on Jan 18.
The guideline includes self, midterm and final inspections. According to the guideline, starting from 2016, every five years will usher in a planning period. The self-inspection will be conducted every year by provincial governments, and the mid-term inspection is conducted in the third year by assessment authorities. The final inspection will be organized in the year after the planning period by the State Council.