China's Latest Pilot Program to Improve Its Business Climate
China's latest pilot program to improve its business climate entails more measures to attract foreign investment and talent, including streamlining job certification, more efficient mechanisms to settle legal disputes and making it easier to enroll children in school.
The program, rolled out in a policy document issued by the State Council last month, outlined a host of measures to upgrade business-related administrative services in six cities－Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing, as well as Hangzhou in Zhejiang province, and Guangdong province's Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
The program marked the latest national efforts to tailor the country's business environment to international standards and will offer foreign citizens, especially entrepreneurs, a better business and living experience in China, said Ma Liang, a professor of public management at the Renmin University of China.
"It will provide foreign businesses and expats more convenient, efficient and tailored public services," he said.
The six cities will offer diversified, efficient and convenient services to foreign businesses looking to settle disputes, including measures to develop centers that provide one-stop services.
Dispute resolution organizations and arbitration bodies will be encouraged to hire foreign mediators and arbitrators as part of the program.
The six cities will also explore ways to set standards for the certification of top-notch talent, especially those that are severely lacking nationwide. Local authorities will also pilot the establishment of a mechanism that allows expats to practice certain professions on the condition that they have already obtained the relevant qualifications or certificates overseas or from universally recognized international organizations.
The government will consider establishing an evaluation system for talent that is in line with international rules, the policy document said.
It added that the level of service from the international versions of government web portals will be upgraded to help expats better understand investment opportunities, employment and other policies.
Under the program, the government will widen market access for operators of schools for foreign children and allow domestic businesses and Chinese citizens to open schools for them.
Authorities will also increase administrative approval for procedures concerning expats as part of one-stop online services, the document said.
A level playing field is a key goal of the program, which pledged to offer the same treatment to businesses, whether they are domestic or foreign.
For example, Yang Jie, head of the Department of Laws and Regulations at the National Development and Reform Commission, told a news briefing last month that a more transparent, standardized and efficient mechanism for project bidding, which would require the release of bidding plans before projects can commence, will be developed to ensure that foreign and domestic businesses are treated equally.
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