(Apr. 13, 2009) The Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), China's main commercial regulator, issued the Measures for the Administration of Overseas Investment on March 16, 2009. Entering into effect on May 1, 2009, the new rules encourage Chinese enterprises to invest overseas by delegating approval authority to lower-level government agencies and simplifying approval procedures. The Measures are published on the MOFCOM official website (in Chinese), http://www.mofcom.gov.cn/aarticle/b/c/200903/20090306103210.html?1362519
514=3270338276 (last visited Apr. 8, 2009).
The new rules delegate much of the MOFCOM's approval authority to its lower-level branches. Under the Measures, Chinese investments of under US$100 million are not required to go through central MOFCOM examination and approval, except under special circumstances, such as investment in countries that have not established diplomatic relations with China. Chinese investments under US$100 million but above US$10 million and investments in the energy and mineral sectors will be examined and approved by the provincial-level branches of the MOFCOM. According to a MOFCOM spokesman, based on statistics from last year, about 85% of overseas investment deals to be approved by the MOFCOM will qualify for review at provincial-level branches under the new rules. (The Measures for the Administration of Overseas Investment Published, A Great Deal of Approval Authority Devolved, XINHUANET, http://news.xinhuanet.com/newscenter/2009-03/16/content_11021482_1.htm (last visited Apr. 8, 2009).)
The new rules also simplify the review process for certain overseas investments. According to the MOFCOM spokesman, after the Measures enter into effect, most Chinese overseas investment applications will obtain government approval in three working days. (Id.)