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Thursday, May 31, 2001, updated at 16:11(GMT+8)

Shanghai to Cut Red Tape by Half

Shanghai is cutting its administrative red tape to improve its work efficiency.

Up to 50 per cent of the bureaucracy involving administrative examinations and approvals will be cut, Mayor Xu Kuangdi said Wednesday.

"The focus of the reforms will mainly be on economic fields," he said.

Xu gave examples of the bureaucracy the reforms aimed at eliminating.

If, say, a lift was required, six or seven departments would need to carry out examinations and give approvals.

Enterprises applying for permission to start up projects often had to wait at least three weeks before approval was granted, he said.

Altogether there are 2úČ027 items of administrative examination and approval in Shanghai to cover social and economic activities in the city, some having been handed down from the procedures of the planned economy.

"Some items of examination and approval are for show and formality's sake," Xu said. "And when all the procedures are completed, administrative departments haven't had time to deal with daily administration and supervision."

All administrative departments are being ordered to look at cutting any unnecessary procedures and give their suggestions to the city government by the end of May.

The reforms will be put in place this October, and trials will be launched in four districts and four high-tech parks, Xu said.

He called on all administrators to focus on long-term administration and supervision needs.

"Shanghai's systems are far more complicated than those in Beijing and Guangzhou and other cities," he said. "Complicated and low-efficiency procedures have become a terrible headache to enterprises in Shanghai," Xu said.

Shanghai's hardware is much better than that in other cities in terms of its technological equipment, traffic situation and finance, but in recent years the city's ability to attract foreign capital has been declining.

Last year Kunshan, a small city in neighbouring Jiangsu Province, attracted more foreign capital than Pudong New Area in Shanghai.

The small city takes only 18 days to process a foreign investment application as opposed to at least 45 in Shanghai.

"The government runs too much that could actually be managed by enterprises themselves," said Mayor Xu.

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Shanghai is cutting its administrative red tape to improve its work efficiency.

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