On the central plaza stage of the National Exhibition and Convention Center（Shanghai）, the LED screen displays “the Expo, we are ready!” (Photo by Qu Song from People’s Daily)
By Chen Shasha
Shanghai launched a new scheme to improve its business environment on Thursday, January 2, vowing to streamline administrative approvals via single-window platforms in different sectors.
Ma Chunlei, director of Shanghai’s development and reform commission, said at a press conference on Thursday that Shanghai will learn advanced service concepts and experiences from economies with outstanding business environments.
For instance, the city will strive to finish the process of dealing with construction permits via one single window and within 24 days, learning from Hong Kong’s experience on “one-stop” centers. The time for enforcing contracts will also be shortened from 485 days to 345 days.
Zhu Min, deputy director of Shanghai’s development and reform commission, said that the new scheme aims to make the city keep pace with Singapore and Hong Kong. It will shorten the time for starting a business from nine days to two or three days.
The time spent on cross-border trading will also be maintained at the same level as Hong Kong and Singapore.
Shanghai will start single-window services across the city to better serve expatriates who need work and residence permits in 2020. All application procedures are set to be completed at one window within seven working days.
The plan aims to promote government efficiency in terms of cross-province issues in the Yangtze River Delta region by applying online transactions.
Public services including water supply, natural gas and internet access will also undergo reforms to improve efficiency.
The scheme listed 10 reform tasks, which include improving policy transparency, building a communication platform between the government and companies, clearing channels for enterprises to put forward demands and to protect their rights and interests, and to set up a mechanism for entrepreneurs to take part in making enterprise-related policies.
In the Doing Business 2020 report released by the World Bank Group in October 2019, China ranked No.31 in the ease of doing business rankings with a score of 77.9 out of 100, 15 places higher than in 2018.
Shanghai, as one of the two sample cities of China, had a score of 77.7, surpassing economies like France, Switzerland, Poland, the Netherlands and India.
To improve its business environment, Shanghai has phased out two schemes since 2017. Zhu said that the previous schemes aimed to bring Shanghai into the top 40 in the global business environment rankings. The new scheme will strive to promote Shanghai to the top level.
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