Beijing drafting new laws to create greener business environment

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 September, 2007, 12:00am

The central government is planning to finish drafting new rules and laws needed to create a more environmentally friendly business environment within the next four years, according to the deputy director of the State Environmental Protection Administration (Sepa).

Speaking at a forum, Pan Yue said Sepa would next year also announce policies on how to use business incentives to curb pollution. The policies would be tested in pilot cases over the next two years.

Mr Pan said Sepa was consulting with the central bank and the China Banking Regulatory Commission about issuing lending policies which would help protect the environment.

A special taskforce has also been set up by Sepa and the Ministry of Finance to research ways tax policies can be used to curb pollution, Mr Pan said.

Together with the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, the administration would also announce new insurance measures to encourage 'green insurance', he said.

Mr Pan said the government was hoping to create a business environment that encouraged environmental protection rather than relying solely on administrative measures to protect the environment.

Mr Pan said a mechanism should be created to centralise the management of forests, water, grasslands and land because the existing fragmented approach was inefficient.

Currently, many different state departments are in charge of different aspects of protecting the environment.

Meanwhile, State Bureau of Taxation official Cao Cong acknowledged that the mainland had yet to establish a comprehensive tax system favouring environmental protection.

'There is an absence of taxes targeting pollution and environmental damage, and taxes on specific goods, or the so-called environmental protection tax,' Mr Cao said.

Su Ming, deputy director of the Research Institute of Fiscal Finance under the Ministry of Finance, called for a more substantial rise in taxes on coal.

Meanwhile, Liu Fuyuan, former vice-president of the National Development and Reform Commission's Macroeconomic Research Academy, said the government was still obsessed with GDP, despite calls for sustainable development and a green GDP.

'The GDP mindset has ruled for over a decade, and now it is still like the past. Nothing has changed. It is a big tragedy.'