Business / Policy Watch

China eases approval process for foreign investment

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-05-23 13:54
BEIJING - China will relax the approval process for foreign companies planning to invest in China, while strengthening national security reviews, the country's top economic planning body said Friday.

From June 17 this year, China will adopt a system of "limited approval" and "general registration" instead of the existing "all-round approval" mechanism, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) told Xinhua.

Meanwhile, the national security review over potential investment projects by foreign companies will be strengthened, it added.

All planned investment projects by foreign firms, excluding those required by the "Foreign Investment Industrial Guidance Catalogue" to have Chinese stakes, need only registration before proceeding.

Projects listed among the first to 11th items in the 2013 catalogue of investment projects requiring government approval still need to obtain government approval, the NDRC said.

China has long applied approval procedures to all foreign investment with the aim to safeguard economic security and public interests, while also considering market access and capital account management, it said.

According to the new regulation, all investment projects exempt from approval can go through the registration process with local authorities, and some of the projects needing NDRC approval can directly apply for approval from local authorities.

The NDRC also simplified the procedures for approval and registration by ending review of market prospects, potential economic effects and product technology plans for a proposed project.

The new regulation is expected to be welcomed by foreign investors planning to tap China's enormous market.

While relaxing the approval process in general terms, the Chinese authorities will incorporate national security review into the country's management system for foreign investment projects, with an aim to safeguard national security while deepening reform and opening-up.

The NDRC did not specify how to enhance national security review for foreign investment projects.

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