At the State Council executive meeting held on Sept 6, Premier Li Keqiang highlighted the strong growth of foreign investment in the free trade zones (FTZ) of Shanghai, Tianjin, Fujian, and Guangdong in 2016.
“The reason behind such strong growth against sluggish global investment is our ongoing administrative streamlining, and the transformation of government functions should build a fair market environment,” Premier Li said.
The meeting also decided to promote the separation of business licenses and administrative approvals to a larger scale, and cancel another group of approval items.
According to the Premier, administrative reform of this government should raise the competitiveness of China’s business environment and unleash innovation and entrepreneurship in society.
“In the past, enterprises had to go through different departments and offices to get things done, a huge burden for business operations,” Premier Li said.
To further cut red tape, the meeting decided to eliminate 52 State Council administrative approvals and 22 approvals delegated to local governments, bringing the number of canceled items to 697, 41 percent of the total.
During Premier Li’s inspection tour to Shanxi province just before the meeting, Premier Li urged local governments to build a business environment with less approvals, optimized procedures, flexible mechanism, and best possible services.
“Unlike in the past, local governments no longer ask for funds or projects from the central government. Instead, they hope the central government can delegate more powers to help build a better business environment,” the Premier said.
Meanwhile, he emphasized that administrative streamlining and fewer approval items do not mean less responsibility, but more and stricter supervision by the government.
He added that the government should innovate full-process supervision, and optimize credibility evaluation and information publication after cutting approval items.
Premier Li said some local governments have established a general supervision bureau to integrate the scattered supervision functions of different departments.
“Comprehensive supervision with a ‘single-window system’ has improved work efficiency and allowed people’s voices to be heard, which is conducive to a fairer market environment,” said the Premier.
Premier Li emphasized that the State Council should give more support and power to local governments that are willing to learn from the successes of FTZs.
The meeting also decided to carry out a pilot reform to separate business licenses and administrative approvals and cancel 116 approval items in 10 pilot free trade zones in Tianjin, Liaoning, Zhejiang, Fujian, Henan, Hubei, Guangdong, Chongqing, Sichuan and Shaanxi.
All these efforts, Premier Li said, should be fully implemented to benefit the people and unleash their potential.