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White House slashes red tape to boost economy

The White House Thursday unveiled a series of measures to cut back on burgeoning red tape and simplify rules which it said could save US businesses "billions" of dollars over the coming years.

The US administration hopes the move will lift some of the burdens from struggling companies and give fresh impetus to the faltering jobs market with unemployment still hovering around 9.0 percent

In a move to boost job-creating small businesses, President Barack Obama in January ordered a review of government regulations to ensure the myriad of rules do not stifle economic growth.

He signed an executive order designed to ensure the recovering US economy is competitive and freed from suffocating red tape, while protecting the health of Americans, public safety and the environment.

About 30 government agencies took part in the review, and the new measures should begin to have an immediate effect, US officials said.

"Cumulatively, the reports that we're releasing today... would take immediate steps to eliminate hundreds of millions of dollars in annual regulatory burdens," said White House budget director Jack Lew.

"In fact, over the next several years, these steps have the potential to eliminate billions of dollars in regulatory burdens," he told reporters on a phone conference.

Among the measures unveiled was a move to simplify export forms to help boost American products on overseas markets.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said businesses would no long have to fill out "unnecessary government forms" which would cut 1.9 million annual hours of work time and save more than $40 million annually.

The Environmental Protection Agency agreed to streamline its anti-pollution measures at gasoline stations "because modern vehicles already have effective air pollution control technologies." The move could save some $670 million over the next decade.

And the Department of Health was to re-examine some of the "burdensome regulatory requirements now placed on hospitals and doctors, like requiring redundant entries of information in medical databases."

"These, and the many more changes proposed in the regulatory look-back plans, will add up to real savings for America's small businesses," the White House added in a statement.

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