China streamlines procedures for foreign investment
Updated: 2016-10-09 06:56
BEIJING - The Chinese government will further streamline approval procedures for foreign investment across the country to better attract overseas investment and improve China's business environment.
A new legislative guideline was approved during the State Council's executive meeting on Saturday, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.
"Meanwhile, our country also needs advanced technology and ideas to press ahead with development," Li once pointed out.
"This is part of the government's crucial efforts in streamlining administration and delegating powers, as well as improving our business environment," he said.
The new guideline is a revision and expansion of the present administrative measures for foreign investment in China's four Free Trade Zones (FTZ) in Shanghai, Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian, turning the three-year piloting measures into a legislative guideline.
According to the new guideline, those willing to invest in China no longer have to go through approval procedures if they invest in non-restricted sectors outlined by the Catalog of Industries for Foreign Investment which was approved last year, and do not contradict with the special requirements regarding equity rights and level of management.
The new guideline aims to help foreign investors to reduce concern about discriminatory industrial policies in China and calls for more effective government services for foreign investment.
Li has frequently stressed the importance of encouraging foreign investment, which was most recently brought up when he addressed an audience in New York.
"We are paying equal attention to 'bringing in' and 'going global,' and for a developing country like China, it is still important to attract massive foreign investment, which helps boost the Chinese economy," Li said.
"We hope that China will remain an attractive destination for foreign investment. We need foreign investment for economic growth, and more importantly, we need new managerial expertise and advanced technologies that foreign investment brings," he said.
The "foreign investment negative list" was first applied in Shanghai FTZ in 2013, the first FTZ in China. It explored paths to better attract overseas investors with the "foreign investment negative list" guideline, which was made as a temporary administrative measures for FTZ foreign investment regulations.
Foreign investors only need to register their investment in the government system via the Internet, as long as their projects are not on the negative list.
This was later applied to the other three FTZs in Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian, and was expected to be revised and applied across the country after three years of piloting.
Official data shows that such measures have greatly boosted foreign investment. From January to August 2016, the actual use of foreign capital in the four FTZs in total reaches 8.59 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for almost 10 percent of the national total.
A third party evaluation also shows the simplified measures have brought vigor for foreign investment. Online registration takes only three working days, while the previous approval procedures usually takes no less than 20 working days.
Once the new guideline is put into use, administrative procedures required for registration will be reduced by 95 percent.
The decision to revise these regulations was approved by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress early in September.
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