(“DECISION”) (国务院关于取消和下放一批行政审批项目等事项的决定), ISSUED BY THE STATE COUNCIL
Since the new Chinese leadership took office, 215 administrative approvals that were subject to review by central governments have been abolished or delegated to lower-level authorities, including the National Development and Reform Commission ("NDRC"), the Ministry of Commerce ("MOFCOM"), the National Energy Administration ("NEA"), the State Administration for Industry and Commerce ("SAIC"), the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology ("MIIT"), the General Administration of Food and Drugs, and the National Health and Family Planning Commission ("NHFPC").
The items listed in the Decision and other recent promulgations cover a wide variety of industries, including infrastructure, energy, natural resources, telecommunications, transportation, media and culture, and pharmaceutical. The following are particularly interesting for foreign investors:
Abolished or delegated NDRC approval
Investment in major construction projects such as civilian airports, urban rail projects, large-scale oil and gas projects, ethylene or paraxylene projects, sugar and paper-pulp manufacturing facilities, and industrial parks no longer need to be approved by the NDRC. However, investors must still comply with relevant Chinese laws and regulations on land acquisition, environmental impact assessment, and safety at work.
The NDRC has delegated its previous approval authority for investing in hydro, wind, gas-fired power, electricity grid, rare earth mining and processing, urban rapid rail transit, and cross-province oil/gas pipeline plants to its local counterparts at provincial level.
Abolished MOFCOM approval
When foreign companies entered into production-sharing contracts ("PSC") with Chinese companies to exploit and develop oil, gas and coal-bed methane resources in China, the PSC (including amendments and extensions) was subject the MOFCOM’s approval, which was sometimes time-consuming.
This requirement no longer exists under the new regime, meaning that the PSC and amendments or extensions are effective when signed by the parties.
Abolished MIIT approval
The MIIT no longer requires telecom enterprises to obtain the qualification verification before carrying out business activities, such as manufacturing satellite ground receiving equipment, providing telecom systems, building telecom pipelines, and developing or supervising telecom projects.
Abolished SAIC approval
The SAIC has delegated its authority for reviewing and approving (i) the registration of representative offices for foreign companies and (ii) the verification of foreign companies to carry out manufacturing and operating activities in China to local bureaus for industry and commerce at provincial level.
Date of issue: July 13, 2013. Effective date: July 13, 2013.