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China unveils red tape cuts to boost economy


17:07, May 07, 2013

BEIJING, May 7 (Xinhua) -- In a bid to let the market play its role, the State Council, headed by Premier Li Keqiang, introduced new cuts in red tape to invigorate the Chinese economy.

The government will cancel or delegate power to lower levels for 62 items previously subject to central government administrative approval, helping stimulate the market's and social vitality.

Analysts believed that cutting red tape will be a breakthrough in achieving the transformation of government functions and the reform plan will build up momentum for economic growth.

"This is the reform that is within the government itself. It is difficult, but we have to do it for a vigorous market environment," said Chi Fulin, director of the China (Hainan) Institute for Reform and Development.

"Through reducing intervention, the government will shift its function into creating a sound market environment and providing basic public services to boost China's economy," Chi added.

The initiatives also included improving measures to control the risk of local government debts and make the budget system more transparent and standardized.

"The plan offers a very pragmatic approach to tackle the key issues of China's economic reform," said Wang Jun, an economist with the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

He said that measures like market-oriented interest rate reform, replacing business taxes with value-added taxes and opening the railway system to social capital, injected a fresh dynamic and vitality into the economy and showed the determination of the Chinese government to push forward economic reform.

Indeed, the spirit of the reform plan also echoed the report adopted by the National People's Congress in March which advocated cutting government red tape to build an efficient and law-based government with a clear division of power, reasonable distribution of labor and well-defined responsibilities.

Since 2001, the State Council has introduced six rounds of reforms cancelling or adjusting its intervention in more than 2,400 investment and production items.

Experts agreed that these measures also served as China's long-term development planning in terms of improving the country's social welfare as well as sharpening the nation's competitive edge.

A new city residential permit system will eventually replace the half-century-old hukou (household registration) system, according to the plan, and develop modern agriculture by providing better legal protection of farmers' land use rights.

The supportive functions of technology in economic growth is also given full play in the plan by boosting innovation and integrating resources in an enterprise-oriented policy.

"By improving efforts to guarantee the social welfare system and emphasizing the importance of technology innovation, the reform plan helps to tap the potential of the Chinese economy and to continue its momentum," said Nie Gaomin, director of the Economic Structure and Management Institute with the National Development and Reform Commission.

"As long as these initiatives are well implemented, we anticipate an upgraded market-oriented Chinese economy," said Wang Jun.

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