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China to establish online approval system for investment projects

Updated: Dec 30,2014 3:03 PM

China has set a timetable to establish an online parallel approval system of investment projects for enterprises, a move aimed at further streamlining administrative approvals and regulating intermediary services.

The State Council said in a circular released on Dec 29 that the online platform — which will cover approvals of investment projects around the country — is set to start trial operations by the end of 2015.

Prior to the trial operations, departments including the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) are required to connect their own administrative approval networks with the platform, thus realizing information sharing by the end of June.

After the platform is put into use, companies will be able to use a special identity code to track — in real time — the approval process of their investment project.

The statement also outlines the major tasks that should be accomplished.

The State Council requires departments to review current prior approvals and intermediary services — according to guidelines released by the government — and explain and report the essential approvals that should be done before the operation of projects to the NDRC and the State Commission Office of Public Sectors Reform (SCOPSR).

The NDRC and the SCOPSR will confirm and cancel prior procedure on which enterprises have the right to make their own decisions.

According to the circular, experts will review and select approval requirements, agency services and laws and regulations that should be canceled, integrated or retained — and the experts will also report their decisions to the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council and other departments, by the end of January 2015.

The Legislative Affairs Office’s suggestions on administrative regulations and laws should be reported by the end of June.

The State Council is responsible for submitting the suggestions on laws to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress for review — and is also responsible for suggesting to suspend laws that cannot be revised immediately.

Local governments are responsible for submitting relevant suggestions to the standing committees of local people’s congresses.

Relevant departments will cancel prior approvals and intermediary services that are not legally-based by the end of February, after reviewing regulations and documents.

According to the statement, revisions on laws and regulations should be released to the public in a timely manner. And — once all revisions are completed — the authorities are also required to publish a catalog listing the remaining approvals and mandatory intermediary services.

In order to implement the new system of online parallel approval, departments including the NDRC are required to submit to the State Council — by the end of June — the draft of an administrative regulation on investment projects requiring approval.