Party pill for all ills?

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The CPC’s reform manifesto is wide-ranging and comprehensive. Susan Munro and Hannah Cao explore the key issues of this policy prescription

The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee’s Decision on Major Issues Concerning Comprehensive and Deepening Reform is 20 pages long and lists 60 reform items under 16 categories, covering a wide range of areas. Some of the key initiatives contained in the decision include state-owned enterprise (SOE) reform, greater openness for foreign investment, anti-corruption efforts, financial reforms, strengthening of the rule of law and reform of the judiciary.

Reform of state-owned enterprises

The decision states that improving China’s economic structure is a critical part of its comprehensive reform initiative. A key issue in this regard is management of the relationship between government and the market. For the first time, the market will play a “decisive role” in resource allocation, which is an important change from the previous characterisation of the market as playing a “basic role”. Emphasis on market forces is intended to promote fair competition, remove entry barriers to industry sectors and eventually lead to increased efficiency and fairness.

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Susan Munro and Hannah Cao are partner and of counsel, respectively, at Steptoe & Johnson’s Bejing office