2. Working hard on reform and opening up, concentrating on institutional development and innovation.
Rural reforms were deepened across the board. Major progress was made in the current stage of the overall rural reform, mainly consisting of reform of town and township government bodies, reform of the rural compulsory education system and reform of the fiscal systems at the county and township levels. Government control of grain purchasing was lifted, and the purchase and sale of grain are now market based. Successful trials were carried out in reforming the system of collective forest rights. Smooth progress was made in the reform of supply and marketing cooperatives and state-owned farms.
Continued progress was made in improving the basic economic system. We consolidated and developed the public sector of the economy, made progress in reform of the management system for state-owned assets and adjustment of the distribution and structure of the state sector of the economy, and set up and improved a system for investors of state assets. We accelerated the reform to institute a stockholding system in SOEs, and a number of large companies and conglomerates with the ability to compete internationally were formed. Reform of the postal service system proceeded smoothly, and encouraging progress was made in reforming the power, telecommunications, civil aviation and railway industries. The total value of assets of Chinese SOEs in 2006 grew by 60.98 percent compared to 2002, their total profits increased by 223 percent, and their tax contributions grew by 105 percent. The vitality of the state sector and its impact and influence on the economy as a whole were greatly enhanced. We formulated and implemented a series of policies and measures to foster a legal framework and market environment conducive to fair competition, and encouraged, supported and guided the development of the nonpublic sector, which includes individual-proprietorship businesses and private enterprises. As a result, the nonpublic sector of the economy is playing an increasingly bigger role in stimulating economic growth, creating jobs, increasing tax revenue, and invigorating the market.
We vigorously promoted reform of the banking, fiscal and taxation systems. We resolutely carried out reform addressing the poor performance and greater financial risks of state-owned commercial banks. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Bank of China, the China Construction Bank and the Bank of Communications were turned into stockholding companies and listed on stock markets. This brought about significant improvement in the quality of their assets and profitability as well as major changes in the banking industry. We resolutely carried out reform of the shareholder structure in listed companies and resolved this longstanding institutional problem that hindered the development of the securities market. Key state-owned insurance firms were reorganized and went public, promoting rapid development of the insurance industry. Substantive progress was made in making interest rates more market-based. We reformed the RMB exchange rate regime to gradually make the exchange rate more flexible. Comprehensive progress was made in reform of the system for managing foreign exchange. Reform of the fiscal and taxation systems was deepened, and the system of transfer payments and the system of public finance were steadily improved. The central government turned over 4.25 trillion yuan in transfer payments to local governments from 2003 to 2007, with 87 percent of it allocated to the central and western regions. A budget system for managing state capital was introduced in some enterprises on a trial basis. We launched and expanded trials to reform the value-added tax. The income tax systems for domestic and overseas-funded enterprises were unified. A unified state civil servant salary system based on both position and rank was set up, and the system of subsidies and allowances was basically standardized. Further progress was made in reform of the investment system and pricing system.
Work to develop the market system was intensified. Market forces played an increasingly important role in trade in the factors of production. The modernization of commodity distribution was accelerated. Significant achievements were made in the effort to rectify order in the markets for land and mineral resources and improve the quality of products and the safety of food and drugs. Protection of intellectual property rights was strengthened, and we severely cracked down on violations of the law such as the production and sale of counterfeit goods, pyramid schemes, commercial fraud, piracy and infringement on others' rights.
We continued to open China wider to the outside world. We honored all the commitments we made when we entered the World Trade Organization and made all the required adjustments for the transition period. We deepened reform of the externally oriented economic system to facilitate trade and investment. We lifted controls over access to foreign trade, greatly lowered tariffs, rescinded non-tariff measures such as import quotas and permits, and opened banking, commerce, telecommunications and other service sectors wider. There was gradual improvement in the mix of imports and exports. There was further improvement in the utilization of foreign capital. The "go global" strategy was resolutely implemented and significant results were obtained in mutually beneficial economic cooperation with other countries.