China's laws, regulations to facilitate business

By Yang Kunyi Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/12 19:33:40

More steps will be taken to ensure efficiency, fair competition

Passengers are seen at the entrance of a Walmart store in Shantou, South China's Guangdong Province on October 6. Photo: CFP

China aims to formulate laws to further optimize the business climate for domestic and foreign enterprises and ensure fair market competition, marking rising efforts to write terms concerning the business environment into legislation. 

According to the legislation plan for 2019 that was released by the State Council, China's cabinet, on Saturday, four government administrations -- the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration for Market Regulation -- will be responsible for drafting the regulations related to the optimization of the business environment.

This effort will focus on three aspects, Deputy Finance Minister Zhou Jiayi said at a briefing held by the State Council on April 9, according to a report by the Xinhua News Agency. Policies and regulations will be put forward to make sure that business operations will become more convenient, the environment is legally regulated, and regulations are enforced, according to the report.

The regulations for the optimization of business environment will make business operation easier in China for both domestic and foreign companies, and will build a fairer competition environment, especially between foreign businesses and state-owned enterprises (SOEs), Chen Danzhou, an assistant professor at the School of Law at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, told the Global Times. 

"A top concern of many foreign companies comes from competition from SOEs and local protectionism, and to optimize the business environment means foreign investors and foreign businesses should be allowed to enter more industries that were previously monopolized by SOEs," Chen said. "This will not only allow fairer competition for foreign companies, but also encourage more private investment in China."

However, a fairer market and more competitive environment also means the preferential policies that were enjoyed by foreign companies could be revoked, Bai Ming, deputy director of the Ministry of Commerce's International Market Research Institute, told the Global Times. 

"In the past, preferential policies including tax deductions were given only to foreign companies to attract more foreign investment," Bai said. "But now to ensure a healthy market-oriented business environment, every company, whether Chinese or foreign, will be regarded as equals, both in terms of responsibilities and privileges."

China has been issuing policies, including a more concise negative list for investment, to optimize business environment since 2018. In 2018, China's ranking in terms of the ease of doing business improved from the 78th in 2017 to the 46th, according to a report by the World Bank Group. 

In the first 10 months of 2018, a total of 49,000 new businesses were set up in China, breaking records. The satisfaction rate with the local business environment of foreign businesses also rose by 16 percentage points from 2016, with almost 90 percent saying they were "satisfied or relatively satisfied".

Several provinces in China have also put forward local regulations to optimize their business environments, including Northeast China's Liaoning and Jilin provinces, North China's Hebei Province and Northwest China's Shaanxi Province. 

In Liaoning, for example, the government has been working to cut the number of administrative procedures necessary to register a business from 226 to 32, giving rise to a more convenient business environment and contributing to a 17.3 percent increase in private investment in 2018, according to a report by the Xinhua News Agency.
Newspaper headline: Laws, regulations to facilitate business


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