Premier Li Keqiang visits Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries, China's leading port machinery builder, on April 10, 2018. (Photo/China Daily)
Premier Li Keqiang called for optimizing the business environment and reducing institutional costs in order to boost market vitality and people's welfare, during a two-day tour of Shanghai.
Li first visited the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, where local officials said the time needed for enterprises to complete administrative procedures has been reduced by 85 percent after the integration of governmental services with the internet.
Meanwhile, the number of newly registered enterprises is 50 percent higher than before the pilot free trade zone was established. About 40 percent of Shanghai's foreign trade was completed in the pilot zone.
Li gave high marks to the pilot zone's development over the past five years and called for maintaining concerted efforts to optimize the business environment and reduce institutional costs to build "an upgraded version" of the pilot free trade zone.
The premier also called on local officials to further promote administrative reform under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.
The Shanghai trip was Li's first such tour after he was endorsed by the National People's Congress for a second term last month.
In 2013, he visited Shanghai as his first inspection trip after becoming premier, and the pilot free trade zone was established six months later. He subsequently visited the megacity in each of the past five years except for 2017.
Free trade zones have been at the top of Li's and the State Council's agenda. Another 10 such zones have been approved and established following that in Shanghai to extend to inland areas such as Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces.
In March last year, the State Council released a guideline for the Shanghai free trade zone to promote reforms in key fields such as market access, business registration, single-window customs clearance and quality quarantine.
During his visit to the Yangshan port, Li said China's iconic project of integrating with the global market is expected to further help promote trade liberalization and investment facilitation as a part of the country's opening-up with higher-quality service.
Li also visited Shanghai Roche Pharmaceuticals Ltd, which focuses on anti-cancer medicines. He said: "We welcome foreign companies to invest in China and will further open up. Opening-up is a policy that boosts national development and benefits the people."