China throws farm tax into dustbin of history

Article del Financial Express sobre la reforma fiscal agrària.
Sembla que l’A.N. d’aquest any està portant els primers canvis importants. Em sembla també interessant el tema dels subsidis a la producció. Està Xina seguint els passos dels EUA en aquest sentit?
M’agradaria tenir dades sobre diferencials de pressió fiscal camp/ciutat. Els teniu a mà?

Beijing, March 7 Amid China’s efforts to bridge the widening chasm between the rich and poor, the government has thrown agriculture tax into the dustbin of history, rescinding the 2,600-year-long practice which could improve the lot of some 800 million peasants.

“We will completely rescind the agricultural tax throughout the country, throwing it into the ‘dustbin of history’ after a history of 2,600 years in China,” Chinese finance minister Jin Renqing said. The reform of rural taxes and fees will reduce the financial burden of 800 million rural residents by about $15.63 billion a year, he said.

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao, in the government’s work report presented to Parliament, noted that in order to build a new socialist countryside, the country must comprehensively carry out overall rural reform. China will completely rescind agricultural tax in 2006, he said.

“This is a change of epoch-making significance,” Wen said while noting that the building of a new socialist countryside is a long-term arduous task. According to official figures, the average income of urban Chinese residents was 2.57 times that of rural residents in 1978, but the gap expanded to 3.22 times in 2005. In particular, the gap has widened markedly since 1997.

The reform of rural taxes and fees would greatly benefit farmers by eliminating 33.6 billion yuan of agriculture tax. Over 70 billion yuan in the form of ‘three deductions’ (for public reserve funds, public welfare funds and management fees) and ‘five charges’ (charges for rural education, family planning, militia training, rural road construction and subsidies to entitled groups) would also be eliminated.

At the same time, the pro-reform Chinese premier assured rural administrations that the central government will appropriate over 103 billion yuan annually to ensure normal operation of township governments and meet the needs of rural compulsory education.

Meanwhile, the Chinese finance minister said that the government will improve and expand ‘triple subsidy’ policy. The government will increase the amount of funding for direct subsidies for grain producers by allocating 12.5 billion yuan for subsidies for them in 13 major grain-growing provinces, one billion yuan more than in 2005.

The total amount of subsidies for each grain-growing province will be equivalent to 50% of the total risk capital for grain production in that area, Jin said. A total of 4.07 billion yuan will also be allocated from central budget for subsidising the purchase of superior varieties of grains, 200 million yuan more than in 2005. The government has also doubled the allocation to 600 million yuan as subsidies for purchasing agricultural machinery and tools.



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