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China's top planning agency vows to streamline investment approvals

[BEIJING] China's top planning agency said on Thursday it would continue to cut red tape, including steamlining approvals on investment projects, in the latest bid to bolster the economy.

"We will further abolish or delegate a number of administrative approvals and investment approvals," Yang Jie, an official with the policy research division of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), told a news briefing.

Premier Li Keqiang has been driving reforms to cut red tape and simplify approving procedures for new projects and companies to help spur growth and curb corruption.

Luo Guosan, deputy head of the investment department of the NDRC, said the agency plans to slash the list of sectors in which investment projects need its approvals by a further 50 per cent.

That would cut the number of sectors that still need the agency's approvals by 90 per cent since 2013, he said.

The NDRC will retain its approvals for projects involving cross-border investment, foreign direct investment and outbound investment, projects in coal and electric passenger vehicles, he said.

In many cases, companies seeking to launch projects still need to get the green light from local authorities as the NDRC has delegated its approval powers to provinces, analysts say.