40+ attendees included six experts from the United States, the United Kingdom, and France; the Ministry of Finance and provincial budget officials; and prominent scholars from academic and research institutions in the field of public finance and taxation.
Changes in fiscal policy are affecting the dynamics between China’s central government and the provinces. Fewer resources are being transferred from the center downward, making it more difficult for some lower level governments to provide basic education, health care, unemployment insurance and other services. At the same time, some of the relatively prosperous provinces are able to manifest greater independence from Beijing than in the past, making it difficult for the central government to ensure that its policy objectives are put into action. These dynamics must be addressed if China’s leaders are to meet ambitious goals for reducing disparities in standards of living, implement the rule of law and ensure social stability.
Within this context, the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations co-organized a conference with the School of Finance of Renmin University of China in Beijing in July 2006. The conference focused on the changing dynamics between China’s central and provincial governments through the lens of fiscal reform. Policy-makers, practitioners and analysts from China and other countries shared comparative perspectives on the balance of power between central and sub-national governments, responsibility for policy mandates and available resources, and reform of government institutions and practices.
Over the course of two days, the conference highlighted relevant current research; presented case studies on specific policy areas; and facilitated discussion on national reform, regional differences and the applicability of other countries’ experiences. A summary report of the conference, in both Chinese and English, is available in the Related Documents area of this webpage.Click the images below for bigger versions: