New measures to allow easier overseas investment by domestic companies have been released by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOC).
Under the new rules, the ministry cedes its previous control over the number of investment projects. Only overseas investment projects in sensitive countries or regions, as well as in sensitive industries will require approval by the MOC.
Such sensitive countries or regions include countries that have not established diplomatic ties with China and those countries under the United Nations sanctions. Other overseas investment projects only need to register with the MOC, according to the new measures posted on their website on Sept 6.
Aimed at allowing more freedom for outbound investment, the measures take effect on Oct. 6 this year.
Previously, any overseas investment project worth more than $100 million was required to be approved by the MOC. Overseas investment in energy and mining, or projects between $10 million and $100 million, must also be approved by provincial commerce departments.
Overseas investment by industries under China’s export restriction policies or those projects affecting more than one foreign country’s interests are subject to the MOC’s approval review.
Apart from the MOC, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s top economic planner, has the power to approve or veto an overseas investment project.
According to the new measures unveiled by the NDRC in April, Chinese companies planning to invest less than $1 billion overseas will only need to register with authorities rather than get approvals from the NDRC.
Any overseas investment project larger than $1 billion must be approved by the NDRC and investment above $2 billion must be approved by the State Council, or China’s cabinet.
As one of the most popular destinations for foreign investment, China has also become the world’s third-largest investor during the first seven months of the year, investing $52.55 billion in non-financial companies in 149 countries or regions, according to the MOC.