Information about Asia and the Pacific Asia y el Pacífico
Front Matter

Front Matter

Ehtisham Ahmad, Vito Tanzi, and Qiang Gao
Published Date:
September 1995
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Information about Asia and the Pacific Asia y el Pacífico
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Reforming China’s Public Finances


Ehtisham Ahmad

Gao Qiang

Vito Tanzi

Papers presented at a symposium held in Shanghai, China, October 25–28, 1993

International Monetary Fund Washington • 1995

© 1995 International Monetary Fund

Cover and interior design by IMF Graphics Section

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Reforming China’s Public Finances / editors, Ehtisham Ahmad, Gao

Qiang, Vito Tanzi.

  • p. cm.

“Papers presented at a symposium held in Shanghai. China, October 25–28, 1993.”

Includes bibliographical references (p.).

ISBN 1-55775-511-6

1. Finance, Public—China—Congresses. 2. China—Economic policy—1976—Congresses. I. Ahmad, Ehtisham. II. Gao, Qiang. III. Tanzi, Vito.

HJ1401. R44 1995




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In recent years, China has taken steps to promote sustainable growth, with greater reliance on market mechanisms and institutions that facilitate orderly macroeconomic controls. The International Monetary Fund has been assisting the authorities in this endeavor. IMF participation has been particularly active in various fiscal areas such as tax policy, tax administration, budget management processes and the budget law, and fiscal relations between different levels of government.

In preparation for the introduction of major tax reforms and a new system of fiscal relations between different levels of government, the Ministry of Finance asked the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF to help prepare a seminar at which these issues could be discussed. The World Bank joined this effort, and Bank staff prepared a number of papers based on their own work in related areas. The conference, hosted jointly by the Ministry of Finance and the Shanghai municipal government, made possible an exchange of views between senior officials from the central and provincial governments in China and staff and experts from the IMF and the World Bank.

The reform of Chinese public finances is essential to the success of the efforts undertaken to ensure what the Chinese authorities call a market socialist economy and to the continued prosperity for the Chinese people. The conference discussed various policy options that might be considered by the Chinese authorities and the provinces in determining a sequencing of key fiscal reforms. I trust that this volume will contribute to the reform process in China and to its understanding by observers and scholars in other parts of the world.

Michel Camdessus

Managing Director

International Monetary Fund


The introduction of a new tax system and budget laws to generate adequate resources for the government and to create a “level playing field” in China will have consequences for fiscal relations between the central and provincial governments. The close interrelationships between these reforms was brought out in the seminar, which also provided a forum for discussion between the central and provincial governments, with presentations by the IMF and World Bank staff on international experiences and their own work in China.

The Vice-Minister of Finance, Mr. Jin Renqing, opened the seminar, stressing the importance that the central government attached to the deliberations. A great deal of preparatory work was done by officials of the Budget Management Department of the Ministry of Finance. We would like to thank in particular Ms. Feng Xiuhua, Deputy Director, and Mr. Wang Weixing, Division Chief. A Chinese version of this volume has already been published by the Ministry of Finance, in collaboration with the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD).

We would also like to thank the Mayor of Shanghai and the Finance Bureau of Shanghai Municipality for their excellent arrangements in hosting the seminar and for their hospitality during our stay in Shanghai. The presence of a large number of participants from various provinces and central government agencies contributed to a rich exchange of ideas.

World Bank staff presented a number of key papers, reflecting their own work and interest in related fields. Senior Bank staff, including, among others, Mr. Pieter Bottelier, the Resident Representative in Beijing, Mr. Ramgopal Agarwala, Division Chief, and Mr. Vinod Thomas, Chief Economist (Asia), addressed the seminar and chaired sessions.

Mr. Douglas Scott, the Fund’s Resident Representative played a key role in arranging and attending the seminar. A number of FAD staff presented papers and chaired sessions during the seminar. In recent years, FAD has provided technical assistance in the areas of tax policy and administration, budget laws and management, as well as in the area of fiscal relations between different levels of government. Special thanks are due to Juanita Roushdy of the Fund’s External Relations Department, who worked hard to prepare the volume for publication, and to Fawzia Dossani who typed numerous drafts of the manuscript.

Ehtisham Ahmad

Gao Qiang

Vito Tanzi

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