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Fellow Deputies, Let me turn to what we propose for the work of government in 2018.
The tasks of economic and social development this year are formidable. We will make the most of this period of historic opportunity-a period for making things happen. We will take coordinated action that covers all sectors and focus on clear priorities, to deliver a solid performance in all areas of work.
1. Stepping up supply-side structural reform
In economic development we need to focus on the real economy. We will continue to cut overcapacity, reduce excess inventory, deleverage, lower costs, and strengthen areas of weakness. We will take big steps to streamline administration and cut taxes and fees, keep improving the business environment, and further energize market entities, to increase the quality of economic growth.
We will develop powerful new growth drivers. We will create big, strong industrial clusters in emerging industries, implement the big data development action plan, step up next-generation artificial intelligence R&D and application, and do more to promote the Internet Plus model in many fields like medical care, eldercare, education, culture, and sports. We will develop intelligent industries and expand intelligent living. We will use new technologies, new forms of business, and new models to transform and upgrade the traditional industries. Statistics on emerging industries will be strengthened. We will do more to speed up broadband and bring down internet rates, achieve high-speed broadband access in both urban and rural areas, and make free internet access available in more public places. We will significantly lower the rates of home broadband, and corporate broadband and dedicated internet access services; domestic data roaming charges will be abolished, and rates for mobile internet services will be cut by at least 30 percent. These steps will bring tangible benefits to people and businesses, and boost the development of a Digital China.
We will speed up work to build China into a leader in manufacturing. We will promote the development of integrated circuits, 5G mobile communications, aircraft engines, new-energy vehicles, and new materials, launch an initiative to shore up weaknesses in major equipment manufacturing, develop industrial Internet of Things platforms, and create Made in China 2025 demonstration zones. We will significantly scale back industrial production licensing, and strengthen product quality oversight. Taking steps in all sectors to improve quality, we will work toward meeting the highest international standards, encourage the spirit of workmanship, and ignite a revolution in the quality of Chinese-made goods.
We will continue cutting ineffective supply. With a commitment to using approaches consistent with market principles and the rule of law, we will strictly enforce environmental protection, quality, and safety laws, regulations, and standards, and ease overcapacity and close down outdated production facilities. This year, we will further cut steel production capacity by around 30 million metric tons and coal production capacity by approximately 150 million metric tons. Coal-fired power generating units with a capacity of less than 300,000 kilowatts that fail to meet standards will be closed. We will strengthen work on “zombie enterprise” bankruptcy liquidations and reorganization, and ensure that affected employees are given assistance and debts are dealt with. We will act faster to reduce excess food stockpiles. In cutting ineffective supply, we will knuckle down to produce new results.
We will deepen the reforms designed to delegate powers, improve regulation, and provide better services. A negative list for market access will be instituted nationwide. The reform separating permits and certificates from business licenses will be rolled out nationwide. With the main thrust of this reform being to cut back on the permits and certificates now required once a business license is issued, all that can be cut will be cut, and all that can be merged will be merged. This will further trim a chunk off the time it takes to complete all the procedures required for starting a business. The trademark registration timeline will be significantly shortened, and the time it takes for a construction project to get government approval will again be halved. We will implement across the board an oversight model using randomly selected inspectors to inspect randomly selected entities and requiring the prompt release of results. There will be zero tolerance for counterfeit and substandard products and corrupt law enforcement. We will make progress with the Internet Plus Government Services model, enabling more matters to be processed online, and doing our best to see that things requiring presence in person get done in one place and without the need for a second trip. We will work hard to advance the comprehensive institutional reform of law enforcement bodies, focusing on resolving the problem of layers of duplication in law enforcement. We will work faster to develop government information system connectivity and connect up information islands. We will review all types of certificates required of individuals and businesses when accessing government services, and put a stop to anything being required that does not have a basis in law or regulations. Creating a better business environment will unlock productivity and increase competitiveness. We need to remove barriers, cut red tape, and build even pathways, to energize market entities and bring greater convenience to the people.
We will further lighten the tax burden on businesses. We will reform and improve VAT: We will turn the three tax brackets into two and adjust rates, prioritize lowering rates in manufacturing and transportation, and raise the threshold for annual sales revenue for small-scale taxpayers. Far greater numbers of small low-profit businesses will see their income tax halved, and the ceilings on deductible business purchases of instruments and equipment will be significantly raised. A policy of uniform corporate income tax exemption on the overseas earnings of Chinese businesses will be put into implementation. More logistics companies will enjoy preferential tax treatment on their use of land for storage facilities. Some expiring preferential policies, such as those on VAT and deed transfer tax on land transactions in enterprise reorganizations, will be extended. These measures will, over the year, reduce taxes on businesses and individuals by more than 800 billion yuan, promote the transformation and upgrading of the real economy, and do much to unleash market vitality and public creativity.
We will slash non-tax burdens on businesses. We will further review and standardize government administrative fees, and lower required payments to some government-managed funds. We will continue the policy of lowering the share paid by businesses for contributions to old-age pension, medical insurance, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, maternity insurance, and housing provident fund schemes for the time being. Power grid charges and electricity transmission and distribution prices will be lowered, and the price of electricity for general industrial and commercial businesses will be cut by an average of 10 percent. We will deepen reform of the system of highway tolls and reduce tolls on highways and bridges. We will thoroughly overhaul charges for intermediary services. By abolishing all unjustified fees and cutting all excessive fees, we expect to lighten the non-tax burden on market entities by over 300 billion yuan this year, which will leave enterprises with a much lighter load and free to focus their resources on their development.