Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said Thursday that the country will unswervingly encourage, support and guide the development of the non-public sector and support private enterprises to develop toward a broader stage.
Xi, also Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks while presiding over a symposium on private enterprises.
The basic economic system of retaining a dominant position for the public sector and developing diverse forms of ownership side by side is an important part of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and crucial for improving the socialist market economy, Xi said.
The non-public sector's status and functions in the country's economic and social development have not changed. The principle and policies to unswervingly encourage, support and guide the development of the non-public sector have not changed, and the principle and policies to provide a sound environment and more opportunities to the sector have not changed either, Xi said.
"On the new journey to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and further fully build a modern socialist China, our country's private sector should only grow stronger instead of being weakened and march toward a broader stage," Xi said.
At the meeting, 10 entrepreneurs shared their opinions and made suggestions on the private enterprises' development. Xi interacted with them and made a very important speech afterward.
The country's non-public sector has grown under the guidance of the Party's principles and policies since the implementation of the reform and opening up, Xi said.
"Over the past 40 years, the private sector of the economy has become an indispensable force behind China's development," Xi said.
The private sector has become the main contributor to job creation and technological innovation and an important source of tax revenue, he said, adding that the sector has played an important role in developing the socialist market economy, transforming government functions, transferring surplus rural labor and exploring the international market.
"The private sector's contributions are undeniable for the country to be able to make miraculous achievements in economic development," Xi said.
The Party's viewpoint on adhering to the basic economic system is "clear and consistent," and there has never been any irresolution, Xi said.
"Any word or action that denies, doubts or wavers over the country's basic economic system is not in line with the principles and policies of the Party and the country," Xi said.
"All private companies and private entrepreneurs should feel totally reassured and devote themselves to seeking development," Xi added.
Stressing that the private economy is an essential element of China's economic system, Xi said that "private enterprises and private entrepreneurs belong to our own family."
He underlined the important role that the private economy plays in pushing the development of the socialist market economy, promoting the supply-side structural reform, seeking high-quality development and building a modernized economy.
The private economy is also an important force for the Party's long-term governance and for the Party to lead the Chinese people to deliver on the two centenary goals and realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation, Xi said.
Some private companies have recently encountered some difficulties and problems in their development in terms of market, financing and transformation, Xi said, citing the combined result of multiple contradictions including external and internal as well as objective and subjective factors.
"These difficulties are obstacles in the process of development, issues in the course of progress and pains as the country grows, and they will surely be solved through development," Xi said.
Xi stressed that staying focused, enhancing confidence and concentrating on the country's own affairs is the key to coping with all kinds of risks and challenges.
Currently, the country maintains overall economic stability with steady progress, and economic performance is kept within a reasonable range, Xi said.
At the same time, growth uncertainties have been on the rise, downward pressures have increased and companies have been facing more difficulties, he said.
"Those are all inevitable issues in the course of progress. We must see the favorable conditions and have full confidence in the country's economic development," Xi said.
Noting the country's strength in areas including a huge market and relatively low labor cost, Xi said that the fundamentals of the Chinese economy remain healthy and stable, the conditions for factors of production to support high-quality development have not changed and the long-term trend of steady growth with a sound momentum has not changed.
"We have the strong leadership of the CPC, the political advantage of pooling resources to solve major problems, new sources of development from deepening overall reforms and the continuously growing capabilities of macroeconomic regulation," Xi said.
As long as the country maintains its strategic resolve, upholds the underlying principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability, takes the supply-side structural reform as the main task and further pushes reform and opening up in all fronts, the country will speed up the transition to the track of high-quality development and embrace brighter growth prospects, Xi said.
Xi demanded the implementation of policies and measures in six aspects to create a better environment for the development of private enterprises and address their difficulties.
First, the burden of taxes and fees on the companies should be eased. Substantial tax cuts including the reduction of value-added taxes should be advanced, while tax exemptions can be provided for micro and small firms as well as technology startups. The nominal rates for social security contributions should be lowered in accordance with actual conditions.
Second, measures should be taken to address the difficulty and high cost of financing for private firms. The financial market thresholds should be lowered to expand the fund-raising channels of private firms. Necessary financial aid should be provided for private companies that follow the direction of the country's economic upgrading and have good prospects.
Third, the playing field should be leveled. Various hidden restrictions and hindrances for private enterprises should be removed. An environment of fair play should be created for private enterprises in market access, administrative approvals, business operations, bids and tenders and military-civil integration. Private firms are encouraged to participate in the reform of state-owned enterprises.
Fourth, policy implementation should be improved. Policies should be better coordinated and implemented meticulously to give private firms a stronger sense of fulfillment. In the process of reducing overcapacity and leverage, the same standards should be observed for enterprises of all types of ownership. In law enforcement involving work safety and environmental protection, authorities should avoid the one-size-fits-all approach.
Fifth, a new type of cordial and clean relationship between government and business should be established. Party committees and governments at all levels should spend more time and energy caring for private enterprises and entrepreneurs, listen to their opinions and appeals and take initiatives to help them solve problems. Major policies should be explained correctly, and some erroneous assertions should be cleared up.
Sixth, entrepreneurs' personal and property safety should be ensured. When performing their duties, disciplinary and supervisory agencies should not only solve cases but also safeguard legitimate personal and property rights and protect the lawful operation of businesses.
Xi also called on the entrepreneurs to treasure their social images, raise corporate competitiveness in lawful operations, raise operational and management capabilities and broaden their international outlook to become competitive in the global arena.
Wang Yang, Wang Huning and Han Zheng, all members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, also attended the symposium.