China will further cut the red tape involved in approving new investment to improve government efficiency and increase accessibility for foreign investors, the country’s top economic planning agency said on April 17.
China will promote a management mode based on a “negative list”, with its first application in foreign investment, Lian Weiliang, vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a news conference on April 17.
The new mode refers to the method of employing lists of only banned or restricted practices, unlike the existing foreign investment catalog that contains categories of encouraged, prohibited and restricted practices.
The negative-list management system has gained great traction after being promoted in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone since its establishment in 2013, the country’s first such zone.
“The foreign investment catalog will be gradually replaced by a negative list,” said Zhang Jianping, senior researcher at the Institute for International Economic Research under the NDRC.
To improve government efficiency and make the process more transparent, the authority is also promoting online approval services. It will significantly cut approval terms for investment and give enterprises more autonomy in decision-making, said Lian.
The country will also adopt the “negative list” domestically, and the NDRC is studying related policies for pilot regions, he said.
An overall plan for improving State-owned enterprise reform is still being developed. It is expected to play a crucial role in guiding reforms and expediting the process, he said.
Reforms will be processed in many sectors, such as electricity and gas.
The world’s largest electricity consumer on April 15 added Anhui, Hubei, Yunnan and the Ningxia Hui autonomous region as new pilots for electricity transmission and distribution tariff reforms, following pilots in Shenzhen and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region.
At a national meeting on electricity system reform on April 17, Xu Shaoshi, chairman of the NDRC, said the government’s resolution in pushing forward electricity reform marks a breakthrough in the energy sector’s market reform.
The reform allows social capital to enter the power sales and newly added distribution business, while the electricity transmission business will remain with power grid companies.
Meanwhile, China will support international production-capacity cooperation and boost financing services to help the export of equipment by measures including issuance of bonds.