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Unified national market needs strengthened rule of law

Author  :  ZHAO XUZHOU     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2023-02-24

A unified national market is an intrinsic requirement for building a new pattern of development. A full-fledged unified market is an important symbol of a developed market economy and an institutional underpinning for a major economy to achieve high-quality development. The report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China clearly stated, “we will work to see that the market plays the decisive role in resource allocation and that the government better plays its role.”

In the context of building a modern socialist country in all respects and a high-standard socialist market economy, the construction of a unified national market must also abide by the guiding, standardizing, and guaranteeing role of the rule of law while unleashing the dual roles of the market and the government.

Rule of law in regional development

The construction of a unified national market and the rule of law in regional economic development are connected in several ways. The institutional arrangement of promoting regional coordination through market unification is dependent on the rule of law. Zhang Shouwen, a professor from Peking University Law School, called for considering the relationship among regional coordination, market unification, and economic rule of law. It is necessary to carry out market-oriented reform, strengthen the guarantee of the rule of law, and solve the problem of “laying more emphasis on policy than the rule of law.” The framework of the rule of law should serve as the groundwork to intensify regional development and national regional coordination and to facilitate effective interaction between regional markets and the unified national market.

In the opinion of Chen Wanling, a professor from the Institute of Social Sciences at East China University of Political Science and Law, China’s coordinated regional development needs to solve imbalances caused by differences and conflicts of interest arising from adjustments of economic relations. The key to constructing regional economic rule of law is a cognitive issue, requiring adopting the language and concept tools of economic law to describe the requirements for regional economic development and providing a basic framework for research on economic law.

The construction of regional economic rule of law requires macro-level planning and design based on the international division of labor and the global market, removing the obstacles to market development resulting from various natural and human factors. Xu Mingyue, a professor from the Economic Law School at Southwest University of Political Science and Law, proposed that to achieve coordinated, balanced, and comprehensive development, local governments should make different arrangements and plans in light of local features and advantages, and perform internal adjustments based on the concept of overall coordinated development. Efforts are also necessary to coordinate stable internal development through industrial planning and guidance, as well as the support of various fiscal and administrative measures, thereby advancing the holistic development of the whole economy.

Ren Chao, a professor from the School of Economic Law at East China University of Political Science and Law, believes that the construction of regional economic rule of law should manage possible market deficiencies according to local conditions during marketization. The adjustment of public power should be introduced based on the pattern formed by the market, bringing about the integration of regional economic rule of law.

While regulating the administrative authority of local governments, the construction of a unified national market also needs to change incentive parameters, conduct institutional reform, optimize assessment mechanisms, and reform monopoly industries. According to Ye Weiping, a professor from the Law School of Shenzhen University, the long-term development of local economy is essentially related to local governance ability, while the ability and level of local governments’ economic governance largely depend on the degree of rule of law. As such, it is advisable to transform the local economic governance model, presently centered on attracting businesses and investment, into one that highlights competition in the market economy.

Facilitating fair market competition

“The core connotation of a unified national market is unified national market systems and rules, the nationwide free flow of economic resources, and fair market competition throughout the country,” said Zhu Guohua, a professor from the Law School at Tongji University. In terms of institutional construction, we should improve the legislation system for regional competition policies, establish legal coordination organs for regional competition, improve the regional review mechanism for fair competition, and standardize regional subsidy competition mechanisms. In terms of system implementation, it is necessary to establish trans-regional competition policy execution agencies, establish and operate trans-regional competition judicial organs, build a cloud platform of regional competition law enforcement systems, and cultivate the rule of law culture within regional competition policies.

“The purpose of establishing a unified national market is consistent with that of anti-monopoly law,” said Sun Jin, a professor from the School of Law at Wuhan University. The implementation of system unification needs to leverage the role of fair competition review systems in a bid to cope with local protectionism or industrial blockades, hold the bottom line of anti-monopoly and market rules, and achieve the unification of fair competition review systems and rules.

Editor: Yu Hui

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