The 16th National People's Congress held in March approved proposals to restructure ministries and agencies that are intended to help implement economic reform.
As part of a reduction of the total number of government ministries from 29 to 21, the State Economic and Trade Commission will be merged with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation to form a new Ministry of Commerce. This move is intended to bring China's government structure more in line with World Trade Organisation rules in that it removes the distinction between domestic and foreign enterprises. The new ministry will be headed by 58-yearold Lu Fuyuan. Lu has considerable experience in industry, having spent most of his career working in the auto sector.
At the same time, the State Development and Planning Commission is to be renamed the State Development and Reform Commission to reflect the changes in its role as the country moves away from being a centrally planned command economy. It will be headed by 57-year-old Ma Kai, who has served as deputy minister of the SDPC. He is described as a strong ally of former premier Zhu Rongji and his successor Wen Jiabao.