Editor's note: System reform and innovation is the key to accelerate the opening up and development of Guangxi Beibu Gulf Economic Zone. Recently, the report On the System Reform and Innovation of the Guangxi Beibu Gulf Economic Zone, which was drafted by China Society of Economic Reform entrusted by Guangxi Government, has passed the expert group’s review and argumentation. Consequently, the overall strategy of the System Reform and Innovation of the Guangxi Beibu Gulf Economic Zone has initially established --
"Seize this historic opportunity that the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area will be established next year and focus on the function of Beibu Gulf Economic Zone with opening up to activate reform and reform to promote development. Hence, a series of important reform measures shall be tried first to optimize the investment environment of Beibu Gulf Economic Zone, deepening administrative system, financial and monetary system, open and cooperation system, land management system and other reforms. "
The report has made full exploration and analysis of the realization of the system reform and innovation of the Guangxi Beibu Gulf Economic Zone from five aspects: the administrative system, land systems, fiscal policies, financial system, opening up and cooperation system, pointing out the direction of future reform for the Economic Zone. A series of reports shall be given to illustrate the essence of the report and expert insights to the readers.
To get better and faster development，the regional economy shall go with a matching administrative system. For the rational use of existing administrative resources and to minimize the cost of reform and resistance, the report On the System Reform and Innovation of the Guangxi Beibu Gulf Economic Zone, based on the previous reform achievements of the administrative system, focusing on the interface with the existing administrative system, proposes five kinds of alternative administration modes for the Guangxi Beibu Gulf Economic Zone. These modes, being a unified centralized style of management, or the coordination of decentralized style of management, or a mixture of both, provide us with useful references.
To build a complete administrative entity
It is to turn the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone into a Grade-I administrative one, to establish a unified, complete administrative structure, fully integrated into the country's existing administrative system. The Management Committee is transformed into a local government, independently performing the essential functions of a government, ranking between the member municipalities of Beibu Gulf and the autonomous region.
Analysis of pros and cons:the establishment of a single administrative zone can rationalize the relationship between the various administrative bodies, so as to minimize the disorderly competition and constraints with each other, to form the overall force of opening up and development, to grasp the initiative in exchanges and cooperation at home and abroad, and eventually, to achieve considerable long-term benefits.
On the other hand, the large adjustment of personnel, institutions and functions of this mode will encounter relatively large friction and resistance. Meanwhile，the full support of the central government is also needed, and the cost of decision-making and amending laws and regulations is dear.
To build an entity institution specializing in opening up and development
It is to make the Management Committee and its Office (MCC) the main development body of economic reform so that it has sufficient power to promote opening up and development. Thus, the economic affairs of opening up and development in Beibu Gulf Economic Zone shall be detached from the functional departments or governments at all levels and handled by the MCC, which is responsible for strategic planning, executing the function of increasing the major investment projects and infrastructure construction, and leading ports group and development and investment companies or others and directly getting involved in economic development activities.
Analysis of pros and cons:compared with small institution adjustment, the resistance to the rearrangement of functions and powers will be larger. At the same time, if the investment and construction functions are detached from the functional departments or governments at all levels, then three problems will arise: institutional changes require two legislative authorizations or enactment of relevant policies from the State and Guangxi level, and the cost of legislation or policy is dear; who will be supervising the MCC; and how to coordinate the relationship between the MCC and the various member municipalities in the process of operation.
To build a designated specialized agency with complete functions
It is to put the related power of organs directly under the autonomous region concerning the opening up and development of Beibu Gulf into the hand of the MCC without changing the functions and powers of the member municipalities. The integration of all functions related to Beibu Gulf Economic Zone, including examination and approval, investment, planning, management, etc. shall make the MCC a powerful designated agency with complete functions and powers.
Analysis of pros and cons:in spite of a decrease of resistance from the member municipalities, there will be pressure from the organs directly under the autonomous region. With the power given by Guangxi government, this powerful agency will be able to focus on its economic function, expand gradually its jurisdiction, and eventually lay a solid foundation for becoming a government. Along this path may be a matter of course towards Xinjiang Wu-Chang mode.
To build the zone imitating "CIS" or Community Mode
It is to borrow the concept of "Commonwealth of Independent States" formed by the former Soviet Union republics, the municipalities in the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone shall not change the existing administrative powers and ownership so that they can be united in a similar "Commonwealth of Independent States" or the Community mode to jointly carry out opening up and development of the zone, pushing forward the economic integration in the zone.
Advantages and disadvantages:This mode needs small efforts in institution adjustment but high cost for consultation. Compared with the weak administrative impetus in Modes 1 and 2, this mode is simple and easy to implement. "Community" mode takes a long time for communication, adjustments, consultations and decision-making so that opportunities will be missed, though its operation is easier. In this case it could be an option for the medium-term mode.
To build a strategic and innovative public service organ
It is to make the MCC a strategic platform specializing in high-end planning and management, highlighting its strategic, innovative and service features. Through the full play of its power of planning and macro management, weakening its power of construction, the MCC shall make itself a high-end forward-looking agency that leads the development trend in deed.
Analysis of pros and cons:making the MCC a strategic platform and public service institution will not disrupt the existing administrative framework, so that it will encounter the least resistance against reform. Accordingly, the formation of a new management mode will not only bring tangible benefits, but also make the "calling cards" of the Economic Zone, with great publicity effect. However, at the same time, this mode requires a high-quality system environment and highly-qualified talents, accurate grasp of market trends, social conditions and sentiments of public opinion, as well as innovative thinking.
Yuan Xucheng, deputy secretary-general of China Society of Economic Reform, said that it is a prevailing problem that the administrative divisions and economic divisions in the country are not unified. The best approach to reform is the from-bottom-to-top and step-by-step approach, featuring the breaking of administrative system following the formation of regional economic communities. On the strategic focus the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone can take "three steps": the first 5 years will mainly focus on the acceleration of the development and laying a solid economic foundation for the future development and transformation; the next 10 years will focus on the economic restructuring which will be accelerated at a certain level of economic development, similar to the current stage of Binhai New Developed Area in Tianjin; and in another 10 years, the social and economic transformation will go hand in hand. Based on the development and economic restructuring in the first 15 years, the social transformation and development will be speeded up, and the perspectives identified in the “Guangxi Beibu Gulf Economic Zone Development Planning” will be gradually realized.