China has publicly named and shamed dozens of its local governments for mistreating foreign businesses in its latest effort to validate itself to overseas investment with the country’s role in the global value chain under threat from the trade war with the United States, said the South China Morning Post.
The National Audit Office’s quarterly report showed that it had found 45 local authorities who had committed violations relating to levying unauthorized fees and delays in granting business licenses.
For example, the Hunan provincial government continued to demand service charges from foreign businesses even after they had been officially removed by the central government in March 2016, collecting RMB 4.77 million (US$710,000) from 46 foreign companies as of the end of 2018.
The quarterly audit is a review on whether local governments are implementing Beijing’s rules and policies covering poverty reduction, pollution control, financial risk management, reducing business costs and improving business environment.
Foreign investment has been identified as one of the top six economic priorities by the Chinese government, as the world’s second largest economy is concerned about gradually losing its attractiveness due to rising costs as well as criticism over its increasingly intrusive state.