Business / Policy Watch

China adopts law regulating asset appraisals

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-07-02 17:44

China's top legislature on Saturday adopted a law on asset appraisal, the first law governing the country's asset appraisal industry since it emerged three decades ago.

The law, which started to be drafted in 2006, was adopted after a fourth reading at a bi-monthly session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee. It will take effect on Dec. 1, 2016.

The country used to have an administrative regulation on state-owned asset evaluation, which was promulgated by the State Council in 1991.

The new law allows certified appraisers who have passed national exams, as well as those who have expertise and hands-on experience in asset evaluation, to practice asset appraisal.

Foreign nationals cannot become certified appraisers in China by sitting the exams, but they still can provide asset appraisal services here, Lai Yongtian, an official with the Ministry of Finance, told a subsequent press conference.

The law does not prohibit foreign institutions from practicing asset appraisal in China, Lai said, stressing that authorities should conduct necessary reviews when appraisal agencies are established by foreign nationals or institutions, and when foreign institutions provide appraisal services in fields pertinent to China's economic security.

After the adoption of the law, agencies involved in the industry will have to formulate or improve relevant measures, Lai added.

Practitioners must provide appraisal services and sign appraisal reports in accordance with the law, the new law requires. Those who sign false reports could face a life ban.

The law provides that appraisal agencies should supervise and take responsibility for the professional conduct of their practitioners.

For matters involving state-owned assets or public interests, if an appraisal is legally required, appraisal agencies should assign at least two certified appraisers to the job and sign appraisal reports, the law says.

The law also stipulates that appraiser qualification exams be organized by national appraisal industry associations.

Industry associations should establish mechanisms for communication, coordination and information sharing, as well as common codes of conduct in order to boost the sound and orderly development of the appraisal industry, according to the law.

The appraisal industry should be regulated by city level authorities and above, it says.

"The greatest significance of the new law lies in its clarification of all involved parties' legal liabilities. It provides legal protection of national and public interests," said Zhang Guochun, secretary-general of the China Asset Appraisal Association.

At the press conference, Gong Fanrong with the NPC's Financial and Economic Affairs Committee voiced the hope that with the new law, "practitioners will provide services according to law, government agencies strengthen regulation, and industry associations play a positive role, so as to contain irregularities that disrupt the industry."

China started to have an asset appraisal industry in the 1980s. It now has six categories of asset appraisal, including real estate, land, mining rights, and used motor vehicles.

There are more than 14,000 appraisal agencies in China, with more than 130,000 certified appraisers and 600,000 others employed in the industry, according to official figures.

The law is adopted at the right time, as it will improve the system of law for the socialist market economy, said Liu Jianwen, a law professor with Peking University.

With the new law, asset appraisal will be better regulated, which will help prevent the loss of state-owned assets and maintain the order of the market economy more effectively, said Quan Zhongguang, president of a Beijing-based asset evaluation company.


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