Fair competition aimed at optimizing business
Policies and regulations that go against fair competition and equal treatment for domestic and foreign enterprises will be revised or depleted, said a State Council executive meeting, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang on March 26.
By the end of this year, the monitoring system for fair competition will be carried out in national, provincial, city and county levels of government, said a statement released after the meeting. Other mechanisms of complaints and third-party assessment will be built to prevent and correct actions that exclude or limit competition.
These were part of China’s efforts to further improve the business environment and offer equal treatment for Chinese and overseas investments. It is aimed to strengthen the improvement of the country’s business environment and further stimulate market vitality and social creativity, the statement said.
Moreover, the meeting decided to further streamline administrative procedures with the time to open an enterprise to be cut to five working days by the end of this year. The average time to get electricity will be reduced to within 45 working days.
Approval reform for construction projects
China will reform the approval system for construction projects, said the State Council in a notice released on March 26.
The change will cover the entire process of approval procedures, focusing on housing construction and urban infrastructure, the document said. The time for examining and approving construction projects was set to be reduced to 120 working days, and the system for such procedures should be integrated by the end of this year, the notice said. A national construction project approval and management system will be completed by the end of next year.
The document targets streamlining the approval process by canceling illegal, unreasonable and unnecessary approval items, and delegating powers to lower levels of government.
Local governments should sort out all approval items before formulating unified approval items, application paperwork and approval time limits. The approval process should cover four phases: land use and planning permits, project permits, construction permits, and completion acceptance, according to the document. A unified, national demonstration flow chart will be created, with approvals to be simplified for small and medium-sized construction projects that have attracted private investment.
Healthcare, maternity insurance to merge
China will merge the basic employee healthcare and maternity insurance, according to a notice released by the State Council on March 25 last week.
According to the document, the maternity insurance fund for female employees will be merged into the employee basic healthcare fund, which is paid by all workers. The two funds will be collected together, and individuals will not be required to pay a premium for maternity insurance. Services provided by the two insurance programs will be subject to unified regulations. When healthcare authorities sign new contracts with registered healthcare institutions, maternity services should be added to the contracts, the document said.
The clearance system of maternity insurance can be temporarily reserved, but should be combined with the healthcare clearance system at the appropriate time.
Maternity insurance benefits should remain unchanged after the integration, which includes maternity service fees and allowances when female employees give birth to a child, according to the social security law. Those benefits will be afforded by the basic health insurance fund.