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Editorial: For a stronger private sector

(China Daily)

13:21, August 01, 2012

Premier Wen Jiabao's call to open up the economy further to private investors is a reminder that we have a lot more to do to provide a level playing field for the private sector. Wen urged the country during Monday's executive meeting of the State Council to fully implement the policies encouraging the private sector's growth.

Admittedly, the government has been increasingly aware of the importance of the private sector and has devised a series of policies to facilitate the growth of private enterprises. It issued a landmark policy to support individual and private business owners in early 2005. Since then, a number of regulations have been issued to make the policy a success.

But private enterprises still complain of facing obstacles when they try to enter certain fields, prompting the government to tackle the problem.

We need not doubt the sincerity of the government in ushering in more non-State investors into such important and profitable areas as energy and finance, but we are yet to see more measures to ensure that the private sector gets the same treatment as its State and foreign counterparts.

Despite the policies and regulations being in place, private investors often encounter difficulties in getting them fully exercised. This is the reason for their complaints.

As a legacy of the planned economy, the State sector is favored. And it is a fact that over the past two decades, foreign investors have been welcomed to build the local economy. Private businesses do not need preferential terms; what they need is simply fair treatment.

For example, individual and private businesses account for about 10 percent of the total short-term lending of the country's banks. But the private sector generally generates more than half of the country's GDP and accounted for nearly 96 percent of new jobs created in urban areas in 2009.

The private sector is especially important for the national economy when the country's GDP growth is slowing amid global economic uncertainties.

But it should not be only an expedient choice to support the sector's faster growth. Considering the long-term health of the national economy, the government should expedite its efforts and translate its promises into concrete benefits for the private sector.

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