China to further streamline administration for market vitality

China to further streamline administration for market vitality

BEIJING - China's State Council, or Cabinet, has pledged to further streamline government administration in a fresh move to reduce government controls and unleash market vitality.

In a plan signed by Premier Li Keqiang, the State Council said it would further slash items subject to government approval and review while improving power delegation, supervision and its service to the public.

A batch of regulatory measures will be announced to standardize the government's exercise of power and its efficiency, as well as to lift burdens on companies in order to clear hurdles for entrepreneurship and innovation, the plan said.

Fighting red tape has taken on extra urgency as growth slows and the economy is steered away from an unsustainable model powered by state investment toward one driven by private consumption and services.

The Chinese economy grew 7.4 percent in 2014, the weakest annual expansion in 24 years. The government has further lowered this year's growth target to approximately 7 percent.

Under such circumstances, streamlining government administration and improving power delegation and government regulation could "cultivate a new engine for economic and social development", the work plan read.

In particular, the work plan said the government will further slash 200 administrative review items this year to cut red tape. The central government departments controlled 1,526 approval items in 2013. By the end of 2014, about a third have been canceled or delegated to lower agencies.

In addition, the State Council said it would step up reforms in investment project reviews. Currently, before an investment project is officially approved, a company often needs stamps of approval from more than 30 government departments.

The central government will also advance reforms in professional qualifications, commercial systems and in science, education and other social undertakings, clean up illegal fee collection, and promote public supervision over the government, the work plan said, urging authorities to publish reform timetables and roadmaps and strengthen coordination in the reform drive.