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China Moves to Cut Business Costs and Promote Market Access

Small businesses will have easier access to finance and pay less tax in line with a new directive from the General Office of the State Council. These reduced business costs, combined with greater intellectual property protection and easier market access, have been designed to nurture business creativity.  

More specifically, the 8 November directive outlines a number of new policy initiatives, including a further reduction of market access restrictions on capital from a variety of sources and an alleviation of the problems of financing difficulties and high costs for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. Additionally stipulated are further reductions to the corporate tax burden, the accelerated introduction of enhanced intellectual property protection and the nurturing of a positive innovation and entrepreneurship environment.

The circular also mandates the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce to take responsibility for amending and distributing a new version of the Market Access Negative List, while driving awareness of the “all is permissible unless prohibited” principle. By the end of March 2019, restrictions on the use of foreign capital in all sectors not featured on the Negative List will be completely eliminated, unifying the criteria for the deployment of overseas and domestic investment.

In addition, a system of foreign investment management, with online record-filing playing a principal role, will be implemented. Designated foreign enterprises will then be monitored and inspected in order to ensure they are enjoying equal standing when it comes to government procurement, funding subsidies, qualification accreditations and other criteria as may be deemed relevant.

For further details (in Chinese), please access the following link:

Circular of the State Council General Office on Focusing on the Concerns of Enterprises in Further Promoting the Implementation of Policies for Optimising the Business Environment (Gu Ban Fa No. 104 [2018])

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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