6. We promoted market-oriented reforms and further energized market entities. We upheld and improved the basic socialist economic system, and made significant progress with regard to reform of key areas and sectors.
1) The business environment was further optimized. We further pushed forward with reforms to streamline administration and delegate power, improve regulation, and upgrade services. The Regulations on Improving the Business Environment were promulgated, demonstrating the efforts China is making to build a business environment evaluation system. We carried out business environment evaluations in 41 cities nationwide. The Negative List for Market Access (2019) was published and the number of items listed was reduced to 131. We worked to ensure that investment approval is conducted in line with relevant procedures, and is accessible online. The approval procedures for construction projects were further simplified. Interdepartmental oversight conducted through the random selection of both inspectors and inspection targets and the prompt release of results was rolled out incrementally. We accelerated the formulation of the list of items for the Internet Plus Oversight initiative. The functions and services of the national platform for sharing credit information were improved. We also accelerated the setting up of a new, credit-based oversight mechanism. A national online platform for government services was launched on a trial basis. The nationwide network for financial credit information database services was set up.
2) Reforms in the areas of mixed ownership, the protection of property rights, and the nurturing of entrepreneurial spirit were pushed forward in a coordinated manner. Pilot reforms of mixed ownership were carried out in the fourth group of 160 SOEs. We strengthened the protection of property and intellectual property rights and made breakthroughs in reviewing and correcting wrongly adjudicated cases involving property rights. Steady progress was made in dedicated campaigns to address property rights disputes involving the government. The policies and measures for supporting reform and development of private enterprises and promoting healthy development of SMEs were promulgated. A sound mechanism for entrepreneurs to participate in enterprise-related policy formulation was established.
3) We stepped up reforms for the market-based allocation of factors of production. We formulated guidelines on institutional reform to promote the social mobility of labor and talent. We revised the Securities Law, set up the Science and Technology Innovation Board and launched trials for a registration-based IPO system, and reformed and improved the loan prime rate (LPR) mechanism. We gave greater say to research institutes and universities with regard to their research, piloted the practice of granting researchers ownership of or permanent use rights over scientific and technological output at work, and set up a service system for technology transfer. The Land Administration Law and the Urban Real Estate Administration Law were revised. The secondary markets for the transfer, leasing, and mortgage of use rights for land for construction purposes were further improved, while the systems for the sale of land designated for industrial purposes through various means and for ensuring adequate market supply of such land were made more robust.
4) Reforms in key areas were deepened. The China Oil & Gas Piping Network Corporation was founded. We opened up markets for upstream oil and gas exploration and exploitation.Reform measures for dividing fiscal authority and spending responsibilities between central and local governments in the areas of education, science and technology, and transportation were rolled out. More and more electricity transactions were market-based, and steady progress was made in reforms to raise the number of electricity distributors as well as in trials for the spot trading of electricity. The reform of the price-setting mechanism for on-grid electricity from coal-fired power plants, the pricing reform of on-grid electricity generated from wind power and photovoltaic power, the comprehensive reform of the pricing of water used in agriculture, and price reform in the transportation industry were all steadily advanced. The China State Railway Group Co., Ltd. and the China Post Group Co., Ltd. were established by means of restructuring. In addition, reforms for cutting links between industry associations and chambers of commerce and the government were carried out across the board.
7. We continued to expand high-level opening up and worked faster to develop an open economy. We promoted opening up across more sectors and in a more thorough fashion, and stepped up efforts to develop new strengths in international economic cooperation and competition.
1) Joint efforts to advance the Belt and Road Initiative made solid headway. We successfully held the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. China has so far signed 200 cooperation agreements with 138 countries and 30 international organizations for jointly advancing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Smooth progress was achieved in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and other projects. Active progress was made in key projects such as the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed line, the China-Laos rail line, and Gwadar port. The China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline began operating. We established mechanisms for third-party market cooperation with 14 countries, including France, the United Kingdom, and Japan. The BRI International Green Development Coalition was launched. Steady progress was made in developing the Digital Silk Road and Silk Road E-Commerce. China-Europe freight train services registered a total of over 20,000 trips, incorporating 57 cities in 18 European countries, and the ratio of loaded containers reached 94%. The General Plan for New Land-Sea Transit Routes for the Western Region was published.
2) Foreign trade saw stable, higher-quality growth. We carried out the Guidelines on Promoting High-Quality Development of Trade. We successfully hosted the second China International Import Expo. Significant progress was made in the negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Imports and exports between China and the EU and ASEAN countries, and between China and other BRI countries both grew rapidly. The export of high-value-added products such as the integrated circuits and knowledge-intensive services continued to see rapid growth. We built an additional 24 integrated experimental zones for cross-border e-commerce, and steadily advanced trials of the market procurement trade methods as well as trials for the innovative development of the trade in services. We also raised the quality of development with regard to special customs regulation zones such as integrated bonded areas.
3)The utilization of foreign capital continuously increased. The Foreign Investment Law and the regulations regarding its implementation were enacted. We boosted efforts to attract investment in a broader range of sectors, and to encourage foreign investment in the manufacturing sector and producer services. We supported the relocation of foreign-invested industries to the central and western regions. The two editions of the 2019 negative list for foreign investment, one concerning the whole country and the other concerning pilot free trade zones, were reduced to 40 and 37 items respectively. The restrictions on the shareholding ratio and the scope of operations of foreign-invested financial institutions in China were relaxed, expanding the bidirectional opening up of the financial market. We promoted innovation and upgrading of state-level economic and technological development zones. We improved the management of foreign-debt registration for enterprises, and strengthened efforts to guard against foreign debt risks in key industries. China’s utilized foreign investment totaled US$ 138.1 billion over the year.
4) Positive results were achieved in developing pilot free trade zones. We expanded the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone by setting up a Lin’gang Special Area, and established an additional six pilot zones including one in Shandong, thus having established pilot free trade zones in all coastal provincial-level regions and in border areas for the first time. We applied 49 institutional innovation practices of free trade zones across the country in 2019, bringing the total number of such practices to 223. The Hainan Free Trade Port saw rapid development.
5) Outward investment grew steadily. We implemented the Guide on Compliance Management for Enterprises’ Overseas Operations, as Chinese equipment, technology, standards, and services made steady progress in “going global.” Non-financial outward direct investment reached US$ 110.6 billion in 2019. We expanded channels for cross-border financing of the RMB and advanced the internationalization of the RMB in an orderly manner.