Focus
Key reform agenda to watch as session wraps up
Last Updated: 2014-03-12 21:56 | Xinhua
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As the annual session of China's top legislature draws to a close, attention is trained on the various government organs to see how they will carry out the wide-ranging reforms outlined during the ten-day event.

Following are some key reform areas to watch in 2014.

CUTTING ADMINISTRATIVE RED TAPE

In 2014, the central authorities aim to cancel or delegate to lower-level governments an additional 200-plus items requiring State Council review and approval.

"We will deepen reform of the investment approval system and abolish or simplify preliminary review and approval procedures," Premier Li Keqiang pledged in his government work report delivered at the opening of the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC).

Delegating power is a "self-imposed revolution," said NPC deputy Xie Zilong.

This is part of the country's intention to cut government intervention to allow the market to play a "decisive" role in allocating resources.

FREE DEPOSIT RATE WITHIN TWO YEARS

Central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said on Tuesday that China is very likely to ease its grip on bank deposit rates within one or two years, which is widely considered the last and most important step of interest rate liberalization.

Zhu Yuchen, president of Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, said the regulators and the banking sector have made a lot of preparations to realize the task of establishing a deposit insurance system mentioned in the government work report.

"When the government has fostered a comfortable market environment, reforms will naturally follow," said Zhu, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the top political advisory body.

Zhu said he considers nascent business models such as Internet finance a push for interest rate liberalization and an opportunity that will ultimately lead to more options for the public and more competitive big banks.

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