Shanghai has empowered lawmakers in Pudong New Area so that they can optimize the business environment and promote further reform and innovation in frontier areas, the city's legislature said.
The Shanghai People's Congress enacted 40 new laws in 2022, including nine laws for Pudong New Area, reflecting an improvement in quality and efficiency, said Jiang Zhuoqing, director of the Standing Committee of the Shanghai People's Congress, while delivering the committee's work report at the ongoing first session of the 16th Shanghai People's Congress on Thursday.
A total of 15 laws have been tailor-made for Pudong New Area to support its high-level reform and opening-up since 2021.
The 15 laws include regulations for market access, laws to enhance intellectual property protection, guidelines to promote the development of new industries and measures to improve city governance.
"The 15 laws, which have been made to optimize the district's business environment, improve its urban governance, promote industrial upgrading, encourage independent innovation and develop green ecology, and adhere to the mission of leading in making Pudong a pioneer of socialist modernization," Mo Fuchun, deputy director of the Standing Committee of the Shanghai People's Congress, the city's legislature, said during a media briefing over the weekend.
In April 2021, the State Council, China's Cabinet, released a guideline to support Pudong's high-level reform and opening-up, which stipulated that a legal system in line with its status should be set up.
Following the guideline, on June 7, 2021, Shanghai's legislature was authorized to create laws specific to Pudong New Area in accordance with its needs for reform and innovation.
According to the authorization by the country's top legislature, while sticking to the constitution and current laws and regulations, Shanghai legislators can make changes to relevant laws, administrative regulations and department rules, which will only be effective in Pudong.
For sectors where no laws or regulations are in place, Pudong is allowed to put in place administrative measures and submit records of them according to related processes. Successful experiences and practices can be consolidated in the form of laws and regulations at the right moment, according to the guideline.
Over the past year and a half, Shanghai's legislators, both at the municipal and the district level, have worked closely to ensure efficient and quality legislation, according to Yan Jie, director of the legal work committee of the Standing Committee of the Shanghai People's Congress.
On Sept 28, 2021, the regulation for "one integrated license" for businesses, which integrates the previously required multiple licenses into one for market access, became the first law specific to Pudong.
As a practice that has been piloted in Pudong's Pilot Free Trade Zone since 2015, the regulation, which applies to 31 sectors, simplifies licensing approval procedures and scraps needless restrictions.
The introduction of the regulation, which has reduced licensing times from 95 working days to five working days, has been hailed as a signature move of Pudong's efforts to unlock business vitality and improve the business environment, according to media reports.
"The biggest role of legislation for Pudong New Area is to address some of the sticking points or bottlenecks in our current laws and regulations," said Liu Yuqing, deputy director of the Pudong New Area People's Congress Standing Committee. "We adapt or create them to provide impetus for our industrial and economic development and provide more confidence for the market."
Take the regulations aimed at making the district's Zhangjiang a biomedical industry innovation hub issued at the end of 2021, for example, Liu said.
A number of leading pharmaceutical companies, including Roche and Boehringer Ingelheim, as well as several leading Chinese players, chose to increase their investment and set up R&D centers and commercial headquarters in Zhangjiang soon after the regulations took effect on Jan 1, 2022, he said.
"The regulation has provided a legal guarantee for the breakthrough of Pudong's biomedical industry in terms of innovation, industrial scale, industrial ecology and industrial cluster effect," Liu said.
The Shanghai legislature will continue to improve the quality and efficiency of Pudong New Area's legislation, and provide a more powerful rule of law for its high-level reform and opening-up, according to Yan.
"We will strengthen forward-looking planning and overall layout, expand the participation of grassroots legislative contact points, market players and other sectors of society in the legislation," Yan said. "We'll work hard to ensure the institutional innovation advantages of Pudong New Area legislation are transformed into high-quality development."