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Shanghai Unveils 24 Measures to Attract Foreign Investment

Shanghai Unveils 24 Measures to Attract Foreign Investment

On April 10, 2020, the Shanghai municipal government issued “Several Measures of the Municipality for Implementing Opinions of the State Council on Further Fulfilling the Work of Using Foreign Capital? to further expand opening-up, attract foreign investment and create a more favourable business environment. These measures mainly include four aspects, namely, the implementation of the state policy of further opening-up, strengthened effort to promote foreign investment, improvement on foreign investment facilitation, and strengthening protection of foreign investment. Here is a brief summary of the highlights in the 24 measures.

1.      Implementation of the state policy of further opening up

(1) The Early and Pilot Implementation in supporting foreign invest new open fields. In accordance with the general deployment of the state on opening up, the latest version of the national negative list and the negative list of pilot free trade zones for foreign investment admission will be implemented. Effort will be made to speed up the opening of the financial sector and the EV sector, etc. foreign investors are encouraged to explore the newly opened areas and to have their projects implemented in a swift manner.

(2) Intensified opening measures will be taken in China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone and Lingang New Area. Support China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone and Lingang New Area strives to achieve greater openness in key areas such as telecommunications, scientific research and technical services, education, health and so on in accordance with the  principle of “One project one discussion? Support will be given to the roll-out of best practices and know-how accumulated from pilots of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone in comprehensive bonded area and state-level economic and technological development zones.

2.      Strengthened effort to promote foreign investment

(3) Prefect the One-stop Service System of Foreign Investment Promotion. Rely on the city’s service platform for foreign investment promotion, an investment promotion "four-in-one" system will be gradually established that provides one-stop service with engagement of government departments, professional institutions, chambers of commerce, industry associations and businesses, provide one-stop foreign investment promotion services.

(4) Support domestic and foreign investment promotion activities. Exerting the spill over impetus effect of China International Import Expo, hold Shanghai city promotion conference. All districts are encouraged to launch domestic and overseas investment promotion campaigns with “Investment in Shanghai?as the theme where district-level funding support may be arranged based on the effectiveness of the events.

(5) Quality of inbound investment through open platforms will be improved. The business and institutional advantages of state-level economic and technological development zones will be given a full play to actively promote the implementation of major foreign-invested projects that are aligned with the industrial orientations for development of state-level economic and technological development zones, where the platform’s role in business and investment promotion will be highlighted. The management of the development and construction bodies as well as operation bodies of state-level economic and technological development zones will be optimized. State-level economic and technological development zones that have the wherewithal are encouraged to set up overseas business promotion centres to cooperate with foreign industrial parks and to accelerate the introduction of high-quality projects.

(6) Intensified support will be given to major foreign-funded projects. The newly established or increased foreign investment projects established in districts of the city in accordance with the city’s industrial development orientation according to their comprehensive economic and social contribution to the region may be rewarded.

(7) Establish incentive mechanism for investment promotion service. Encourage specialized social organizations and investment promotion institutions to introduce foreign investment projects align with the city’s industrial development orientation. Rewards may be granted by district governments to projects based on the comprehensive contribution to the regional socioeconomic development. Support will be given to sector-earmarked funds to participate in the development of industrial parks of various types. Several carriers for high-quality development of key industrial sectors will be established to facilitate the implementation of major foreign-funded projects.

(8) Strengthen talent introduction support for key projects. Prioritized support will be given to all districts in recruiting professionals for foreign-funded projects that coincide with the industrial development orientations including regional headquarters and R&D centers of multinational corporations.

(9) Establishment of a market-based incentive mechanism for foreign business and investment promotion will be explored. support the districts to include investment results and service effectiveness into assessment incentives, allowing more flexible incentives for the non-civil service posts in the investment departments and teams, to enhance the market operation level of investment promotion activities.

(10) Support all regions to organize groups to go abroad to carry out investment promotion. Business and investment promotion should be prioritized as the main task of overseas or cross-border economic and trade missions. Missions with substantial business and investment tasks are eligible for prioritized facilitation from all districts.

(11) Intensified the foreign investment to promote training. Training sessions on foreign business and investment will be held at both municipality-level and district-level periodically, covering subjects such as promotion, management and protection of foreign investment. City-wide professional business promotion teams will be developed with elevated caliber of staff. Special training sessions for high-tech enterprises will be organized to raise awareness and understanding of relevant policies and to encourage and to attract more investment into this sector.

(12) Promotion and interpretation of foreign investment policies will be strengthened. Guidelines for foreign investment will be formulated and publicized, including Shanghai Foreign Investment Guide, White Paper on Environment for Foreign Investment in Shanghai, etc. All districts are supported to formulate their own guidelines for foreign investment as well to offer service and facilitating measures for foreign investors and foreign-invested enterprises.

3.       Improvement on foreign investment facilitation

(13) Facilitate cross-border capital investment. Procedures at the bank will be simplified for foreign direct investment. Municipal pilot programs on revenue/payment facilitation under the capital account will be launched. Qualified enterprises can use capital account revenue generated from capital funds, external debts and overseas IPOs for domestic payment without providing authentication materials in advance. Measures will be taken to facilitate the registration and management of external debts. Foreign-invested enterprises registered as non-holding companies are allowed to set up subsidiaries or conduct M&A within the Chinese territory using capital funds under the preconditions that the authenticity of the investment is verified and in compliance of relevant laws and regulations including the foreign investment negative list. Measures will be explored to facilitate foreign exchange purchasing by foreign professionals using their local salaries.

(14) Handling process for foreigners?work and residence permits in China will be optimized. Favourable policies in relation to foreigners?work permit will be fully implemented and further improved in support of “single window?platform for foreigners?work and residence permits, where application with one form, acceptance upon one window, all-in-one portal access and one-stop service will be realized. Approval right of foreigners?work permit in China will be delegated to lower-level authorities after taking into consideration district-level institution setting, staffing and demand of the service.

(15) Approval procedures of land use for projects will be optimized. On the basis of unification of regulations, efforts will be made to push forward reform in land use approval, where preliminary examination of land use and permission notes for location will be combined so that three certificates, namely the Construction Land Planning Permit, the Allocation Decision and the Approval on the Use of Land for Construction will be integrated into one. Administration will be further streamline, multiple surveying and mapping will be integrated and processing reengineering will be enhanced. Unification of different examinations and certificates is to be explored in the phase of criteria verification, issue of permit and completion acceptance.

4.       Strengthening Protection of Foreign Investment

(16) Fully implement the foreign investment law. To strictly implement the Foreign Investment Law and the Regulation on the Implementation of the Foreign Investment Law in Shanghai, interpretation of the law, regulation and training programs for foreign investors and foreign-invested enterprises will be carried out. Shanghai will speed up municipal legislation process for foreign investment and formulate local supporting policies to ensure effective execution of the Foreign Investment Law and create a fair business environment.

(17) Perfect the communication and service mechanism between government and enterprises. Government-business roundtable meeting and other mechanisms will be further improved so that synergy can be formed among related departments at municipal and district level to solve the challenges that companies encountered in daily operations. Efforts will be made to strengthen the liaison and service system for key foreign companies, where municipal, district and subdistrict-level governmental departments are responsible for defining the list of key companies and assigning staffs as liaisons who are also tasked with promoting policies, facilitating projects and coordinating problems.

(18) Perfect the mechanism of complaint and protection of legitimate rights and interests of foreign-funded enterprises. “Single-window acceptance?mechanism will be established at both municipal and district level to handle and solve complaints from foreign-invested enterprises. A working body designated for complaint and rights protection affairs will be set up based on the existing institutions or relevant organizations. The working body and its contact information will be disclosed to the public. In addition, efforts will be made to improve the closed-loop compliant handling process consisting of acceptance, coordination and referral, study and disposal as well as timely feedback so as to standardize the procedures and boost efficiency.

(19) Strengthen the normative enforcement of regulatory policies. Inspections at municipal and district level should be coordinated to improve the working mechanism of random sampling, random assignment of inspectors and disclosure of the results to the public in addition to scientific arrangement of the scope and frequency of random inspection. Prudent and inclusive inspections should be exercised in accordance with the actuality of the industry in which companies operate. Revision of the Provisions on Shanghai Discretion Standards of Administrative Penalties for Violation of Environmental Protection and an impunity list of minor environmental offenses will be formulated to enhance the standardization and unity of the behaviour of imposing environment-related administrative penalties in Shanghai.

(20) The important role of judicial protection of intellectual property rights will be brought into play. The efficacy of preservation of properties, evidence and behaviours will be brought into full play to promote the division between complex and simple intellectual property cases and raise the timeliness and convenience of judicial remedy for intellectual property rights. The requirement for formalities of evidence in intellectual property cases involving foreign-invested enterprises will be optimized. The burden of proof on right holders will be reasonably reduced by applying the obstruction of evidence and transfer of burden of proof in accordance with the law. Tougher punishment will be imposed on IP infringement and compensation will be raised in accordance with the law for repetitive and malicious infringement and other serious cases. The reform of “three in one?trial mechanism of civil, administrative and criminal cases involving intellectual property rights will be deepened to toughen up punishment on intellectual property crimes. Guidance of legal application and typical cases of judicial protection of intellectual property rights will be promulgated in time to elevate the awareness and capability of enterprises in utilizing judicial means to protect intellectual property rights.

(21) Perfect the work mechanism for intellectual property rights protection. A landscape of strict, full, quick and equal protection is to be formed, where the protection of trademark, patent, copyright and geographic indication and other intellectual property rights will be reinforced with focus on key fields such as professional markets, exhibitions and online platforms. The role of district-level people’s mediation committees on intellectual property disputes, mediation workshops and professional mediators will be brought into full play to construct a diverse mechanism for intellectual property rights dispute settlement. E-commerce operators will be monitored to fulfill their obligations in relation to intellectual property rights and to implement the rule of “notice-deletion?when it comes to the protection of intellectual property rights.

(22) Increase the transparency of policies related to foreign investment. Districts and governmental departments will strengthen legitimacy review and solicit opinion and advice from foreign-invested enterprises, relevant chambers of commerce and associations before issuing administrative regulatory documents involving foreign investment. When adjustment in investment, production and operation activities is required, a reasonable span of time should be reserved for companies to act accordingly before relevant documents take effect. For administrative regulatory documents involving foreign investment, English translation of the texts will be provided for reference in a timely manner.

(23) Support participation in standards formulation. Relevant information will be provided in a timely manner to enable foreign-invested enterprises in Shanghai to participate in the formulation of national and industrial standards. Process of local standards settings and revision will be optimized by seeking more opinions and improving information system for local standards. In terms of the standardization work in Shanghai, foreign-invested enterprises and domestic enterprises are given equal treatment. Foreign companies will be a part of professional standardization technical committees in Shanghai and be recommended to national-level committees.

(24) Promote equal participation in government procurement. Districts and governmental departments should not adopt discriminatory measures against foreign-invested enterprises or put restrictions on the ownership, form of organization, equity structure of suppliers, nationalities of investors as well as brands of products or services when it comes to the release of procurement information, definition of criteria of suppliers and standards of bid evaluation.

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