The China Society of Economic Reform (CSER) held its annual China Reform Forum on Saturday.
Some context: CSER is composed of reform-minded economists and policy advisers. They were a key source of advice for many of the market-oriented reforms of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
On Saturday, Peng Sen, head of CSER and former deputy head of NDRC, laid out his recommendations for further economic reform.
Peng thinks that making SOEs subject to market competition is key (The Paper):
“The principle of ‘competitive neutrality’ should apply to state-owned enterprises.”Some context: Competitive neutrality is the idea that SOEs have to compete on a level-playing field with private enterprises.
And he would just as soon see many SOEs dissolved:“In competitive fields such as commerce, logistics, services, foreign trade, and manufacturing, SOEs should gradually exit, except for a handful that have become stronger, better, and bigger.”Peng realizes that it’s all about politics:“[Officials] must elevate the political authority and effectiveness of the fair competition review mechanism.”
More context: The country’s market regulator, SAMR, has been pushing all ministries and local governments to revise all existing policies that hinder fair competition. They're also thinking about how to make sure that discriminatory measures don't show up in new policies.
Get smart: The slowing economy has prompted a rethink of the economic reform agenda. Advocates of competitive neutrality are becoming louder.
The Paper: 彭森建议全面深化经济改革：逐步确立宅基地的永久使用权