On December 20, 2016, the State Council published the Revised Catalogue of Investment Projects subject to Governmental Approval in Notice Guo Fa [2016] No. 72, which is retroactive to December 12, 2016.

The highlights:

- Projects with total investment of USD 300 million or higher falling within the restricted industries under the Guideline Catalogue on Industries for Foreign Investment are subject to the NDRC’s approval (previously, the total investment threshold was USD 100 million). Approval of projects in restricted industries with total investment under USD 300 million is delegated to provincial governments.

- Projects in encouraged industries applying the requirements of having Chinese controlling shareholders are no longer subject to approval, irrespective of the total investment amount (previously, those with total investment over USD 1billion needed the NDRC’s approval). Likewise, projects with total investment under USD 1 billion are no longer subject to local government approval. However, they are subject to the MOFCOM’s examination and approval, as they are on the Negative List.

- It includes provisions for the automotive industry, instead of referring to the Industry Policy: newly established Sino-foreign equity joint ventures for car manufacturing are subject to the State Council’s approval, and newly established pure electric vehicle enterprises (including existing enterprises’ new projects) are subject to the NDRC’s approval.2

- Approval of various projects involving agriculture and water resources, raw materials, transportation, social undertakings, urban construction and energy sectors is delegated to provincial governments.

Date of issue: December 20, 2016. Retroactive effective date: December 12, 2016