China to speed up pricing reforms, ease business burdens
China's State Council on Saturday pledged to speed up pricing reforms to allow the market to play a bigger role in the process and ease business burdens to invigorate the economy.
While giving full consideration to the possible impact on the market and society, China will "gradually and orderly" reform the pricing mechanisms in the energy, transportation and environment sectors, said a statement released after an executive meeting of the State Council presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.
The move is intended to promote market competition, break monopolies and activate social investment to facilitate economic restructuring and improve people's livelihoods, the statement said.
Meanwhile, the government will continue efforts to relieve burdens on small- and micro-sized businesses, as well as start-ups, to encourage innovation.
Starting Jan 1, 2015, the government will cancel or halt 12 charges, including business registration fees, and scrap another 42 administrative fees.
From 2015 to 2017, small- and micro-sized businesses with monthly sales of less than 30,000 yuan ($4,886) will be exempt from five government funds charges in the three years since their registration, according to the meeting.
The range of policies is expected to relieve taxpayers of over 40 billion yuan per year.
Saturday's meeting also decided to actively support the integrated development of cloud computing, the Internet of Things and mobile Internet.
The growth-stimulating policies came as China's GDP expanded at 7.3 percent in the third quarter of this year, down from 7.4 for the first half but still within the "reasonable range" set by policymakers. But the continuing weaker-than-expected economic indicators released recently highlighted downward pressures on the economy.