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China’s State Council fans out inspection teams to look into local business environment in April

A worker rushes to fill orders at a factory in an industrial park in Nanchong, Southwest China's Sichuan Province on January 16, 2024. The province has built financing platforms and promoted scientific and technological innovations for private firms, in a bid to optimize the business environment of the private economy and boost the high-quality development of the local economy. Photo: VCG

A worker rushes to fill orders at a factory in an industrial park in Nanchong, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province on January 16, 2024. The province has built financing platforms and promoted scientific and technological innovations for private firms, in a bid to optimize the business environment of the private economy and boost the high-quality development of the local economy. Photo: VCG

The General Office of State Council, China’s cabinet, announced during the weekend that it will conduct onsite inspection of 20 provinces and regions including Beijing, Shanghai, South China’s Guangdong and Hainan provinces in April to look into their business environment. 

Other provinces on the list include Northeast China’s Liaoning and Jilin provinces, East China’s Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Fujian and Shandong provinces, Southwest China’s Sichuan and Chongqing, as well as Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. 

In a statement seen on its WeChat account on Saturday, the General Office urged private enterprises to report tip-offs to the State Council’s online supervision platform involving a number of issus, including local authorities’ deliberate delay on business cancellation and relocation applications, as well as localities placing restrictions due to registration place and ownership, or unfair treatment to bidders during a government tender process. 

Other issues involve arbitrary fees, fines, and imposts on private firms, inconveniences in applying for certificates and services, and local governments not fulfilling their commitments even after contract was being implemented.

The inspection office will send personnel to handle those relevant issues, or refer them to relevant departments of the State Council for further investigation, according to the WeChat post. 

The State Council’s online supervision platform has been seeking tip-offs from the public since mid-March, which involve issues such as obstacles to market access and exit, fair competition, infringement on the legitimate rights and interests of market entities which could hold back further opening-up.

Observers said the inspection is part of the Chinese government’s intensified efforts to shore up the confidence of private sector and help attract more investment. It also refuted against Western smear alleging that foreign capital has been fleeing due to China’s deteriorating business environment. 

In March, the work report of the Standing Committee of the 14th National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, pledged to accelerate the formation of laws aimed at promoting the vigorous development of the private sector. 

Global Times