Business / Macro

Minister of Commerce: Approvals for foreign-investment enterprises to be made easier

By Fan Feifei ( Updated: 2016-10-14 16:39

The country vows to streamline approval procedures for foreign-investment enterprises (FIEs) and others in order to further facilitate foreign investment, an official from the Minister of Commerce said on Friday.

"The Ministry of Commerce and other relevant ministries have taken measures to ensure smooth implementation of the amendments to the Law on Wholly Foreign-owned Enterprises and three other laws," said Tong Daochi, Assistant Minister of Commerce at a policy briefing of the State Council.

Tong added they have clarified the scope of special administrative measures on foreign investment access, formulated and promulgated the Interim Measures on Record-filing Administration on the Establishment and Alteration of FIEs, and enhanced IT application and capacity building.

The amendments to these four laws have in essence clarified two things. One is to replace case-by-base approval with record-filing for matters relating to the establishment and alteration of enterprises whose access doesn’t fall under the special administrative measures. The other is that the special administrative measures on access must be issued or approved by the State Council.

By October 13, the ministry had received over 500 applications for establishing new FIEs nationwide, among which 134 had been completed.

Since October 2013, China has piloted the reform of the foreign investment approval system in Shanghai, Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian free trade zones (FTZs), replacing the traditional "approval on a case-by-case basis" with "pre-establishment national treatment plus a negative list model."

"This approach has greatly enhanced investment facilitation, predictability and transparency in the FTZs," said Tong.

The National People’s Congress Standing Committee approved the amendments to the Law on Wholly Foreign-owned Enterprise and three other laws last month, which upgrades the reform initiative in the FTZs into a national law and is an example of legislation-led reform, which lays the groundwork for China’s reform on its foreign investment approval regime across the board.

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