I will now move on to discuss the main work we did last year:
一是着力稳增长调结构防风险，创新宏观调控方式。为应对持续加大的经济下行压力，我们在区间调控基础上，实施定向调控和相机调控。积极的财政政策注重加力增效，扩大结构性减税范围，实行普遍性降费，盘活财政存量资金。发行地方政府债券置换存量债务3.2万亿元，降低利息负担约2000亿元，减轻了地方政府偿债压力。稳健的货币政策注重松紧适度，多次降息降准，改革存贷比管理，创新货币政策工具，加大对实体经济支持力度。扩大有效投资，设立专项基金，加强水利、城镇棚户区和农村危房改造、中西部铁路和公路等薄弱环节建设。实施重点领域消费促进工程，城乡居民旅游、网购、信息消费等快速增长。去年还积极应对股市、汇市异常波动等金融领域的多种风险挑战，守住了不发生系统性区域性风险的底线，维护了国家经济金融安全。First, we maintained stable growth, made structural adjustments, guarded against risks, and developed new ways of conducting macro regulation. In responding to the mounting downward pressure on the economy, we exercised targeted and well-timed regulation on the basis of range-based regulation. We adopted proactive fiscal policy that focused on increasing intensity and efficacy by expanding the scope of structural tax reductions, reducing fees across the board, and putting dormant budgetary funds to good use. Local government bonds issued to replace outstanding debt reached 3.2 trillion yuan, lessening the interest payment burden of local governments by approximately 200 billion yuan while also reducing their debt repayment pressure. We pursued prudent monetary policy with an appropriate amount of intensity, making several cuts to interest rates and required reserve ratios, reforming management of the loan-to-deposit ratio, creating new monetary policy tools, and increasing support for the real economy. Effective investment increased, special-purpose funds were established, and development was strengthened in areas in need of attention, including water conservancy, rundown urban areas and dilapidated rural housing, and railways and highways in the central and western regions. Consumer spending was promoted in key areas, spurring rapid growth in spending on recreational travel, online shopping, and information goods and services. In 2015, we also responded proactively to a variety of risks and challenges in the financial sector, such as unusual fluctuations in the stock market and the foreign exchange market, ensuring that no systemic or regional threats arose, thus safeguarding China's economic and financial security.
Second, we intensified reform and opening up to invigorate the market. Rather than adopting strong stimulus policies that would have an economy-wide impact, we continued to move forward with structural reform. We intensified reform to streamline administration, delegate more powers, improve regulation, and provide better services. We delegated the power or cancelled the requirement for government review for 311 items, cancelled the requirement for verification or approval for 123 professional qualifications, and put a complete stop to the practice of non-administrative review. The number of items which require government approval for new businesses prior to registration was cut by 85%, and the system of a separate business license, organization code certificate, and taxation registration certificate was replaced by a unified business license with a unified social credit code. Both operational and post-operational oversight over businesses were strengthened, and public service procedures were improved. Government-related procedures for individuals and businesses were made much simpler, such that enthusiasm for stepping out into business and making innovations is rising by the day.
Fiscal, tax, financial, and other key reforms were deepened. The central government cut, by one third, the number of items for which special transfer payments are permitted, while scaling up its general transfer payments. Steady progress was made in replacing business tax with VAT. Ad valorem taxation was extended to cover more types of resource taxes. The upper limit of the floating band on deposit rates was removed, the deposit insurance system was introduced, and the RMB cross-border payment system was established. Pricing reform was intensified, with the number of central government set prices reduced by 80% and the number of local government set prices cut by more than 50%. We carried out state-owned enterprise (SOE) reforms, rural reforms, and investment and financing reforms, ecological management reforms, and others. Efforts to intensify reform in all respects are beginning to deliver results.
Momentum was created for reform and development through opening up. We worked hard to keep foreign trade stable by adjusting the mechanism for sharing the cost of export tax rebates between the central and local governments, overhauling and regulating charges for imports and exports, increasing trade facilitation, and making changes to the export mix. The number of restrictions on overseas investment in China was cut by 50%, and over 95% of overseas-funded projects may now be undertaken on a simple reporting basis. China utilized US$126.3 billion of overseas investment, an increase of 5.6%. Non-financial outward foreign direct investment reached $118 billion, up 14.7%. Pilot free trade zones were established in Guangdong, Tianjin, and Fujian based on the model of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone. The RMB was included in the IMF's Special Drawing Rights basket. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank was officially inaugurated, and the Silk Road Fund opened for business. China signed free trade agreements with the Republic of Korea and Australia, respectively,and signed the Protocol to Amend the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation between China and ASEAN. Progress was made in the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative (the Belt and Road Initiative), the pace of our industrial-capacity cooperation with other countries was stepped up, and breakthroughs were made in China's export of high-speed railway and nuclear power equipment.
Third, we worked to promote industrial innovation and upgrading to improve economic performance. To strengthen the new growth engines, an innovation-driven development plan was adopted along with guidelines on its implementation, policies and measures were introduced to encourage public participation in starting businesses and making innovations, and the Internet Plus action plan was implemented. A great number of makers started businesses and made innovations. Improvements were made to policies in support of agriculture to promote transformation of the agricultural growth model. In addressing the decline in industrial growth and the downward slide incorporate performance, we worked to foster new industries and upgrade traditional ones. We launched the Made in China 2025 initiative to upgrade manufacturing, set up government funds to encourage investment in emerging industries and to develop small and medium-sized enterprises, and established more national innovation demonstration zones. We cut overcapacity and encouraged business acquisitions and restructuring. Cuts made in outdated production capacity over the past three years have included over 90 million metric tons of steel and iron, 230 million metric tons of cement, over 76 million weight cases of plate glass, and more than one million metric tons of electrolytic aluminum. The development of production- and consumer-oriented service industries picked up momentum. We took serious measures to conserve energy, reduce emissions, and protect the environment, exceeding obligatory targets. We released self-imposed emissions reduction targets and contributed to the positive outcomes of international negotiations on climate change.