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Govt to hasten pace of business tax relief

Zhang Yunbi
Updated: Mar 18,2017 7:35 AM     China Daily

The government will cut business taxes and administrative fees at a faster pace to ease the burden on the nation’s enterprises, according to a State Council executive meeting presided by Premier Li Keqiang on March 17.

The meeting, the State Council’s first since the annual gatherings of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, also assigned tasks noted in the Government Work Report, which was approved by lawmakers at the NPC on March 15, to the relevant departments.

“All departments and units should keep the big picture in mind, dare to touch upon the (vested) interests and staunchly and fully implement this task that benefits enterprises and the public,” an official release of the meeting said.

Business taxes were replaced with a value-added tax in all industries last year as a way to ease burdens on enterprises.

Before the two sessions, which concluded this week, heated discussions had been made by corporate leaders, scholars and officials, who called for lower taxes and fees paid by enterprises.

Reducing such a burden was noted by the Government Work Report, delivered by the Premier on March 5.

Premier Li said when delivering the report that “excessive fees and charges being levied on businesses and difficulties facing individuals who want to access government services remain standout problems”.

The State Council decided on March 17 that “efforts should be stepped up to ease the burden of enterprises, particularly small or micro ones”.

To better streamline administration and serve the public, various government departments “should stipulate lists of their powers and responsibilities before this year ends”, and the piloting of market-entry negative lists should be expanded, the meeting decided. Such lists spell out where private investment may not flow.

Measures granting private investment an expanded access to sectors such as education, culture and sports “should be in place at an early date”, according to the meeting.

This year’s Government Work Report outlines a range of goals, including an economic growth target of 6.5 percent.

According to the meeting, the government will focus on moving ahead with the supply-side structural reform, and the country should cement and expand its stable economic performance with good momentum for growth.

The country should fully evaluate potential challenges, unleash the potential of domestic demand, help the economy operate at a reasonable pace and effectively ensure employment, the meeting decided.

To boost innovation-driven development, new economic areas-such as strategic emerging sectors and a shared economy-should see greater growth. And many traditional sectors should begin to improve the quality of products manufactured in China, the executive meeting decided.