After launching a series of sweeping reform and market-opening measures, China's top leadership is turning its focus to the implementation of what top officials call imperative measures to ensure long-term sound growth of the Chinese economy.
In a policy directive released on Thursday, the State Council, China's cabinet, pointed out that, despite "positive progress" in improving the business environment, problems persisted.
"There are still some shortcomings and prominent problems in China's business environment," read the policy directive, which was addressed to all levels of governments in China.
It listed the persisting problems: slow approval processes, inflexible regulations, inadequate protection for intellectual property rights, unscientific policies, and the lack of implementation of policies.
"Right now, it is urgent to use market entities' expectations and demand as a guide to eliminate the obstacles and problems companies face in their operations and accelerate the creation of a market-oriented, rules-based and globalized business environment," the policy document read.
In the document, the State Council assigned specific tasks to relevant government agencies and, in many cases, set specific deadlines for each agency to complete its tasks and report back to the State Council.
The Ministry of Commerce, for example, needs to act urgently to make sure that all provincial-level governments set up mechanisms by the end of 2018 to deal with complaints from foreign companies.
The General Administration of Customs (GAC) needs to reduce the time for customs clearance to one-third that of in 2017 by the end of 2018 and then by one-half by the end of 2021.
The GAC and the State Administration of Taxation need to cut the time for filing tax rebates to 10 working days by the end of 2018 from 13 working days at present.
The directive also put a heavy focus on monitoring local governments' efforts to improve their business climates. The National Development and Reform Commission needs to set up a mechanism to evaluate the business environment of 22 major cities by the end of 2018, the document said.