What a Negative List!
A new “filing and negative list” regulatory system for foreign-invested enterprises (“FIEs”) has now been officially launched in China. On October 8th, 2016, the Ministry of Commerce (“MOFCOM”) issued the Interim Measures for the Administration of Establishment and Change Filings of Foreign-invested Enterprises. On October 8th the National Development and Reform Commission and MOFCOM jointly issued Announcement No.22 of 2016. On the eve of National Day, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce issued the Circular of Registration of Foreign-invested Enterprises Subject to Filing Administration. To the Era of Case-by-Case Approval Regime for Foreign Investment, the Interim Measures is not much different from the Draft for Public Comment in its scope, filing method, procedures, requirements and time limits. What turns out to be a big surprise to many people is the much-anticipated negative list: instead of introducing a new set of special measures for admission of foreign investment (Negative List) as it had done in the past for free trade zones, the State Council merely referred to the relevant industry categories already set out in the 2015 Guiding Catalogue on Industries for Foreign Investment! This article discusses changes made by the Interim Measures, FIE filings, and what the Negative List looks like.