The shift from arbitrary pollution control fees to a tax framework signals China’s strengthening response to polluters. The draft Environmental Protection Tax Law (EPT Law) released 10 June by MoF, SAT, and MEP also points to a transition from a whack-a-mole approach using administrative decrees, to a legal framework that allows for more rational arbitration of interests.
- MoF and NDRC pushing agri reform
- SOE reform plan delayed 17 months
- cyberspace sovereignty
- muted response to Abe’s end WWII speech
- lifelong accountability for environmental damage
- streamlining and tightening drug approvals
MIIT’s 23 July plan to build 100 intelligent SME clusters around established firms encourages SMEs as innovators and manufacturing hubs in their own right. The plan marks MIIT’s debut as driver of macro-policy, but reveals its limitations. Securing funds—SMEs’ biggest constraint—lies beyond MIIT’s remit or political clout.
Centrally-planned regional upgrade aspires to offset economic slowdown and climate change in one move, achieving national showcase status. Among multiple objectives, dismantling provincial protectionism while boosting regional integration and cooperation rank high. The June 2015 Coordinated Development Outline details planned transport corridors, activity zones and environmental protection.
- fence mending rises on foreign policy agenda
- green and red lights for internet finance
- MoF consolidating clout with Budget Law implementation
- Beijing cluster air pollution
- implementing pension pooling and investment
The consumer market, once symbolised by folk who could afford Lamborghinis, polo horses and bling, quickly broadened to take in upwardly mobile professional classes. Migrant and rural groups are now to gain access to consumer credit, as the state wakes up to their growth-model transforming potential.
Low international prices are propelling agricultural imports into China’s markets, while expensively-procured local grain rots in state reserves. With ever mounting reserves and galloping costs, redirection of subsidy programs is rising on the 2015 rural agenda.
Disappointing data across manufacturing, trade and equities performance spurred a search for new growth models and drivers. Foreign relations saw a string of successes running on from AIIB, culminating in a successful resolution of the Iran nuclear issue.
The Iran nuclear agreement was hailed in China as a mark of rising influence. Was there a downside, however, with the US now freed to wield influence further east? Or was this not, in fact, an upside, with a refocused US now an asset in the much tougher DPRK problem.
Widely reported recent action against lawyers and other institutions has had limited direct impact on international firms, agencies and individuals. Difficult to ignore, though, is the high-level policy gridlock it signals. Meanwhile, the SPC under reformist Zhou Qiang 周强 is still set to clear up dysfunctional courts and raise the morale of the judiciary.
Xi Jinping 习近平 promises high-speed trains will be hot items on the Belt and Road, his signature foreign policy and solution to domestic slowdown. A flurry of Sino-Vietnamese fence-mending visits foreshadow Nguyễn Phú Trọng’s visit to Washington next month, while China unhelpfully redeploys its oil-rig in disputed waters.
- Beijing cluster plans take shape
- Air Pollution Abatement Law amendment disappoints
- more muscle for ‘leftover funds’ cleanup
- corporate governance in SOEs