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Wider market access primary task, Li says

By ZHANG YUE | China Daily | Updated: 2018-11-29 09:20

China will carry out an evaluation of its business climate by measuring it against international standards, according to a statement issued after the State Council's executive meeting, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, in Beijing on Wednesday.

The evaluation will be aligned with World Bank standards and reflect Chinese features, the statement said.

"With continued reform of government functions, our business environment has visibly improved in recent years, and its global ranking has continuously moved up," Li said at the meeting. "As many as 18,000 new market entities are now registered on an average day, up from several thousand a few years back. This would not be possible without an enabling businesses climate."

Criteria for the new assessment will cover areas of immediate concern to market entities, such as the ease of opening a business, construction licensing, access to electricity and credit, paying taxes, filing for bankruptcy and protecting intellectual property rights.

"To foster a more enabling business environment, the primary task is to widen market access, and the second to properly exercise supervision and oversight," Li said.

"Based on the concerns expressed by market entities, we should apply international standards in the context of China's marketplace to truly reflect the actual conditions on the ground," Li said.

"The government should leave no regulatory gaps and should conduct evenhanded oversight, abolish any arbitrary practices in fee collection or inspection, avoid unwarranted interference in business operations and continuously narrow the gap with world-class business environments," the premier added.

The evaluation will be carried out across the country in due course. Local authorities and departments will be encouraged to come up with more solid measures for bettering the business climate.

The aim is to deliver tangible benefits to enterprises and maintain China's status as a popular destination for investment from home and abroad, the statement said.

"Countries around the world are working to upgrade their business environment, as this is crucial for attracting investment, boosting market vitality and stimulating public creativity," Li said.

"Our efforts so far still fall short in some respects. We must make sustained efforts to enhance our business climate as an important means for managing the complex environment and promoting high-quality development," the premier added.

More rapid extension nationwide of practices proven to be effective at local levels is needed to facilitate business operations, the summary said.

In particular, efforts to cut review requirements, simplify permitting procedures and reduce costs must be intensified. Enterprises will be supported as they participate in the policymaking process related to the business environment, and channels of communication between business and government will be smoothed to foster an environment that is market-driven, law-based and up to international standards.

"Improving the business environment is a comprehensive endeavor with great significance," Li said.

"Our successful practices so far, especially in the free trade zones, must be fully drawn upon to help us develop a full-fledged and sound evaluation system. A more enabling business climate will generate sustained impetus for the development of market entities," he added.

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