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Business climate evaluation, a baton for China to improve business environment

December 14, 2018

Abstract : The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planner, is expected to unveil a business environment evaluation mechanism at the end of this year.

BEIJING, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- No one can neglect China's efforts to improve its business environment for enterprises at home and abroad as the country is creating its own business environment evaluation system aligning with international standards.

The move, described by many foreign enterprises as a concrete measure to feel China's reform and opening-up, will surely improve its business environment and promote its economic development, say analysts.

-- Evaluation, a baton for authorities to deepen reform for better business climate

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planner, is expected to unveil a business environment evaluation mechanism at the end of this year.

Earlier, Lin Nianxiu, a NDRC official, said that China has initially established an index system of evaluating the business environment with the Chinese characteristics and internationally comparable standards.

He pointed out that the business environment evaluation index system is constructed from three dimensions, namely, measuring the whole life cycle of the enterprise, reflecting the attractiveness of urban investment, and showing the high-quality development level of the city.

At present, 22 cities in China have been selected for the business environment evaluation on a trial basis. China aims to achieve the business environment evaluation in all cities in 2020, according to the NDRC.

Unlike the previous reliance on top-down administrative orders to cut procedures and time for business establishment, the launch of the business environment evaluation mechanism will achieve the reform through evaluation, meaning the local authorities will have the pressure to enhance their supervision quality and service efficiency, under the guide of the quantitative indicators for business environment evaluation, said analysts.

It is worth noting that some think tanks in China have also joined the move to launch their own business environment evaluation systems.

For instance, Academy of Greater Bay Area Studies, a think tank in south China's Guangzhou city, on Monday unveiled a report on business environment evaluation of China's cities for 2018.

The report was made based on six indicators involving soft environment, infrastructure, business cost, market environment, social service and ecological environment, showing that Shenzhen, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, Chongqing, Chengdu, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Changsha and Wuhan were the top ten cities on the 2018 business environment index list.

Surely, the evaluation system will ignite the local authorities' enthusiasm for improving the business environment and propel them to learn from each other and positively compete with each other so as to further promote development of the enterprises.

-- Nationwide campaign to enhance business environment

Nowadays, buzzwords such as "single window", "negative list", "full electronic process" frequently appears in the news in China. The ultimate goal behind these words is to simplify approval procedures, cut time for business handling, and expand the investment.

For example, in order to speed up the level of cross-border trade facilitation in the Dalian area of the Liaoning Pilot Free Trade Zone, on October 11, Dalian introduced 23 new measures, which will cut the time needed for customs clearance by one third and the port logistics cost by one tenth, and optimize ship supervision services and improve supporting service mechanisms.

In terms of the enterprise establishments, an important indicator to measure the business environment, Beijing, China's capital city, has set up district-level government affairs halls for business establishment, promoted "full electronic process" for business registration, and expanded the scope of self-inspection of enterprise names to cut procedures and shorten the processing time from 24 days to 5 days.

At present, 80 percent of the new enterprises in Beijing have applied for establishment through the electronic means in the entire process, achieving the convenience from "face-to-face" to "key-to-key".

Similarly, in south China's Shenzhen, the pioneering city of China's reform and opening-up, the time for enterprise establishment approval has been cut within four working days.

From north to south, China is pressing ahead with the campaign to improve its business environment for enterprises.

After the establishment of the business environment evaluation mechanism, it will help guide the local authorities to take targeted measures to improve the business environment, said the NDRC official.

-- Bullish about investment in China

China's efforts to improve its business environment have been applauded by enterprises at home and abroad.

Nearly 90 percent of enterprises surveyed are satisfied with China's business environment, according to a survey recently published by the Academy of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT-Academy).

The study surveyed around 4,000 private, state-owned and foreign enterprises in 25 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in China.

It is worth noting that the exclusively foreign-owned enterprises scored 4.19 points (out of 5 points) in the assessment of the country’s business environment.

Recently, a World Bank's report of Doing Business 2019 ranked China number 46, up by 32 spots in 2017, showing the country's notable improvement in the business climate.

In the first 10 months of this year, 49,545 new foreign-invested enterprises were set up nationwide, up 89.3 percent over the same period last year, data from the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) showed.

Foreign enterprises such as BASF Group, Tesla, BMW and the Royal Dutch Shell have expressed their bullish attitude towards doing business in China and some have expanded their investment here, thanks to the country's endeavor to create a fair business climate. (Edited by Hu Pingchao, Gu Shanshan)

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