Li Keqiang

Vice-premiers' activities may shed light on division of labour in State Council

Vice-premiers' activities in past week may shed light on division of labour in new cabinet

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 March, 2013, 5:36am

The division of labour between the State Council's four vice-premiers and five state councillors, appointed last week, has yet to be made public, but the activities of two of the vice-premiers this week may shed light on their responsibilities.

Zhang Gaoli inspected 10 of the 25 ministries and ministerial-level agencies under the State Council.

Among them were the National Development and Reform Commission, the superministry in charge of overall economic operations, and the Ministry of Finance, state media reported yesterday.

Zhang also visited the housing, environmental protection and lands ministries and the tax and statistics bureaus.

Wang Yang, the youngest vice-premier of the four, was in Moscow a day ahead of President Xi Jinping's arrival on his first foreign trip. Xinhua reported that Wang attended meetings and functions promoting bilateral tourism, met local Chinese businessmen and officiated at the opening of a China Construction Bank branch.

As a member of the Communist Party's supreme, seven-member Politburo Standing Committee, Zhang will oversee the economy and assist Premier Li Keqiang, placing him higher in the hierarchy than the other three vice-premiers, who are all members of the wider 25-member Politburo.

Li announced which portfolios the vice-premiers and state councillors would be responsible for on Wednesday, when the premier Keqiang convened his first full cabinet meeting. However, state media have not elaborated on the division of labour.

Meanwhile, directors of three ministerial-level agencies were appointed yesterday.

Zhang Yong, 60, has been named head of the Food and Drug Administration, the newly established watchdog to oversee the safety and quality of food and drug production, distribution and consumption.

The watchdog would integrate the functions of various agencies with the aim of reducing bureaucratic overlaps and supervisory blind spots, Xinhua said.

It said registration and approval procedures for drugs, medical equipment, cosmetics, dietary supplements and catering would not change for now.

In another move, Wang Jun , 55, a deputy finance minister since 2005, will head the State Administration of Taxation, succeeding Xiao Jie, whose new posting has yet to be announced. Zhang Mao, 59, a deputy health minister since 2009, was named director of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, succeeding Zhou Bohua, who is due for retirement this year.