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China urges reform of government-linked trade associations

Updated: Aug 12,2015 9:33 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China has called for a pilot program to give more independence to trade associations, which have traditionally had close relations with the government.

The pilot program will start in the latter half of 2015 and expand to more trade associations in 2016 and 2017, said a circular jointly issued by the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) and the National Development and Reform Commission.

The list of associations in the pilot program from 2015 to 2017 should be submitted to the MCA before Aug 31 and will later be released to the public, the circular said.

All operational, financial and personnel affiliations between the government and trade associations should be severed, it said.

Trade organizations in China have notable shortcomings. Due to their close links with the administration, some are run by retired government officials, who act more like semi-government regulators than organizers and leaders of industry.

Many have been accused of failing to recruit suitable members or effectively influence major companies.

In July, the State Council, China’s cabinet, released a plan for the reform of government-linked trade associations, the latest move to distribute power and duties and empower industries to regulate themselves.