“The government should not only improve the ‘hard environment’ such as infrastructure, but also make breakthroughs in the ‘soft environment’ including a better business environment,” Premier Li Keqiang said at the State Council executive meeting on Jan 3.
As the first topic of the first State Council executive meeting in 2018, improving the business environment was described by the Premier as a factor to “free productivity and improve comprehensive competitiveness”.
He said the topic discussed at the beginning of the year is to send a message that reform will be deepened.
In recent years, the government has been working hard to improve the business environment. According to a report from the World Bank, China’s position in the global ranking of the ease of doing business has risen 18 places over five years. In the first 11 months in 2017, 16,500 companies were started every day.
Weakness still exists in China’s business environment. The Premier asked heads of departments who attended the meeting to take effective measures to respond to the market and enterprises’ concerns.
“Creating a better business environment is not only an acting point in government reform, but also the largest potential for economic development.”
According to the Premier, administration streamlining and reduction of taxes and fees hold the key to further optimizing the business environment.
This year, he said, the government should continue to ease procedures for permits and registrations for the public, and eliminate service fees and charges by trade associations.
Meanwhile, more work should be done to press ahead with the separation of licenses and permits, random inspections and information disclosure, the Premier said, adding that all types of property rights should be protected according to the law.
Premier Li said local protectionism should not be tolerated, and enterprises with diverse ownership should be treated equally in permits, government procurement, scientific projects and setting standards.
Abuse of administrative power and restriction to competition should be held accountable to allow all market players to experience an optimized business environment, he said.
The Premier urged related departments to speed up the establishment of an assessment mechanism on the business environment through learning from advanced international experiences and promote the mechanism nationwide.
Optimizing the business environment should not only facilitate enterprises but the general public, he said, adding that the business environment affects the common people in many ways.
Optimizing business environment for market entities and making people’s lives more convenient should be the things that government diligently strives for, said Premier Li.
With these two aspects improved, China’s market will activate more potential and the public will feel a heightened sense of gains, stressed the Premier.