Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 Instagram YouTube Friday, Sep 2, 2016

Investment law amendments to expand FTZ negative list nationwide

By Kou Jie (People's Daily Online)    16:49, September 01, 2016

The first reading by China’s top legislature of draft amendments to four investment laws is now underway, with a number of experts predicting that these amendments will offer a legal basis for a nationwide negative list, which constitutes a “great reform” of China’s management system for foreign investment, following successful trials in China’s four free trade zones (FTZ).

The bill was released during the bimonthly session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, which runs from Aug. 29 to Sept. 3. The bill suggests adding provisions to four laws: the Law on Foreign-Capital Enterprises, the Law on Chinese-Foreign Equity Joint Ventures, the law on Chinese-Foreign Contractual Joint Ventures and the Law on the Protection of Investment of Taiwanese Compatriots.

The provisions will allow foreign and Taiwanese investors to start businesses all across China as easily as they can currently start them in the four FTZs, Xinhua reported on Aug. 30.

According to a report published on Aug. 31 by Commercial Micro-News, a public WeChat account operated by China’s Ministry of Commerce, the revised investment laws will offer a legal basis for a nationwide negative list, which constitutes a “great reform” of China’s management system for foreign investment.

In two temporary resolutions in 2013 and 2014, the NPC Standing Committee authorized the State Council to bypass these laws and allow foreign and Taiwanese investors to establish firms in the FTZs of Shanghai, Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian without governmental approval. As long as their business is not on a negative list, investors in these zones are only required to report their business plans to local regulators. However, the first temporary adjustment will expire on Sept. 30, Xinhua reported.

Such trials regarding the negative list have eased China’s investing rules and led to a significant increase of foreign enterprises and investment in the four FTZs. According to statistics released by the Ministry of Commerce, there were 5,984 foreign-funded firms were established in Shanghai’s FTZ by the end of June, investing a total of 403 billion yuan (about $60 billion).

“The trials in the four FTZs had notable effects in the last two years, and now it’s time to expand them. Thus, the reform measures need to be legalized,” said China’s Minister of Commerce, Gao Hucheng, at the NPC session on Monday.

Negative list trials have been and are being carried out in several regions around China from 2015 to 2017 in an effort to create a nationwide standard for market access and the management of foreign investment. Once the trials are completed, a finalized version will be implemented in 2018, according to the Commercial Micro-News report.

“The expansion of the negative list mechanism will increase China’s attractiveness for foreign investment,” said Xing Houyuan, a researcher with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, in an interview with Xinhua.

On the other hand, some experts believe that the four investment laws are “severely outdated,” and that a unified foreign investment law should be enacted to attract more investment.

Dong Zhongyuan, a member of the NPC Standing Committee, told People’s Daily Online on Aug. 31 that outdated investment laws should be either revised or abolished. Dong called for a unified investment law following a “modern legal concept.” 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor: Ma Danning,Bianji)

Add your comment

Related reading

We Recommend

Most Viewed


Key Words