Wen Jiabao, who is poised to take over the premiership when Zhu Rongji stands down in March, has been considering mergers among government ministries responsible for industry and the creation of new regulatory commissions with broad powers for several strategic sectors of the economy, South China Morning Post said. The plans are still being debated and are not expected to be ready until March, when a finalised blueprint for restructuring the State Council is to be presented to the National People's Congress.
Wen is thought to be proposing a reduced role for the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation, taking away many of its powers to micro-manage overseas trade and foreign direct investment. Instead, it will be made responsible for developing international trade and for promoting trade at home and abroad – taking over some of the State Economic and Trade Commission's functions on domestic trade.
The State Development Planning Commission would become even more powerful as it would take over two major think-tanks on economic policy now directly under the State Council.
The new leadership wants to create a body to oversee radio, television and the internet, taking over some existing regulatory functions from the Ministry of Information Industry and the State Administration
of Radio, Television and Film. It also wants to see a new national commission regulate all areas of transportation, taking over the functions now exercised by the individual ministries. The government also looks set to create a new commission to regulate banking and another to administer and privatise state assets.