Opinions of the Ministry of Commerce on Supporting the Innovative Development of the Pilot Free Trade Zones
Provincial Departments of Commerce of Tianjin, Shanghai, Fujian and Guangdong:
In order to implement the deployment of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, actively promote the construction of the pilot free trade zones (hereinafter referred to as PFTZ), and give full play to the pioneering role of the PFTZ in the reform, opening-up and innovation, we hereby give the following opinions.
1. Comprehensively plan and coordinate the implementation of the overall plan of the PFTZ
(1) We shall give full play to the overall coordination function of the joint Inter-ministerial Meeting of the State Council for the work of the PFTZ, effectively complete the office work of the joint Inter-ministerial Meeting and work together with relevant departments with a clear division of work and responsibility to support and promote the comprehensive implementation of the overall plan of the PFTZ. In respect of the problems that occur in the development process of the PFTZ, we shall timely coordinate relevant departments to solve them, and if the problems are serious, we shall seek help and coordination through the joint Inter-ministerial Meeting. We shall evaluate and summarize the effect of the pilot programs of reform and opening-up in the PFTZ, and propose suggestions on how to implement these programs across the country in conjunction with relevant departments.
2. Promote the transformation and upgrading of foreign trade
(2) We shall support the establishment of purchase, distribution and settlement center for processing trade in the PFTZ and encourage multinational companies to carry out offshore settlement business so as to promote the transformation and upgrading of processing trade.
(3) We shall rely on the advantages of the industry agglomeration in the PFTZ and support enterprises in the PFTZ to offer inspection and maintenance services with high technology content and high additional value for domestic and foreign markets, such as aviation maintenance.
(4) We shall support the development of cross-border e-commerce in the PFTZ. By embracing this goal, on the basis of evaluating and summarizing the pilot program of cross-border e-commerce in China (Hangzhou) Comprehensive Pilot Zone, we shall make it a priority to offer all favorable policies, which are related to customs supervision, inspection and quarantine, import and export tax, foreign exchange settlement and sale, etc, to the PFTZ so as to promote the healthy and rapid development of cross-border e-commerce in the PFTZ.
(5) We shall promote the healthy and standard development of foreign trade comprehensive service enterprises established in the PFTZ. By embracing this goal, we shall build a association system for key enterprises and give special treatments to the qualified key foreign trade comprehensive service enterprises by providing them with fast customs clearance, simple tax refund and fiscal and financial support so as to improve the comprehensive competitiveness of these enterprises.
(6) We shall promote the pilot program of clearing the customs with automatic import licenses and the wide application of electronic licenses in the PFTZ by building a sound electronic license application service system and promoting the construction of a single window service platform for international trade.
(7) We shall give full play to the effect of modern service industry agglomeration in the PFTZ. Specifically, we shall identify a number of special service export bases, carry out the pilot program of service trade statistics, and foster a batch of leading enterprises in the innovation and development of trade in services and service brands with strong international competitiveness. We shall actively develop service outsourcing business and explore to expand the support policies for service outsourcing demonstration cities to the PFTZ.
(8) We shall support Shanghai to take the lead in promoting the construction of Asia-pacific Demonstration Electronic Port Network in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone and put the Operation Center of Asia-pacific Demonstration Electronic Port Network into use as soon as possible so as to strengthen the inter-connectivity of international trade.
(9) We shall support Tianjin to take the lead in speeding up the construction of the Demonstration Center of Green Supply Chain Cooperation Network of Asia-pacific Economic Cooperation in the China (Tianjin) Pilot Free Trade Zone and look for ways to establish a green supply chain management system so as to encourage the implementation of green trade.
(10) We shall support the China (Fujian) Pilot Free Trade Zone to explore and innovate the management and supervision mode so as to promote the standard development of small-scale cross-straits trade. Also we shall work together with relevant departments to build a work coordination mechanism, promptly evaluate and summarize the work, and strengthen risk prevention.
3. Lower the threshold for investment access
(11) We shall support the local municipal government of the PFTZ to streamline administration and delegate power. The local municipal government of the PFTZ may empower the administration authority of the provincial department of commerce in the field of foreign investment, overseas investment, financial leasing, pawn and auction to the administrative authority of the PFTZ. The department of commerce shall assist the administrative authority of the PFTZ to complete the work by providing relevant guidance and technical support.
(12) We shall relax the application conditions of the Permit of Direct Selling for foreign-invested enterprises in the PFTZ and cancel the requirement that foreign investors shall have more than 3 years of experience in direct selling activities outside China.
(13) We shall support the PFTZ to carry out the pilot program of conducting commercial factoring business in the PFTZ, explore a foreign exchange management mode that suits the development of commercial factoring, actively develop international commercial factoring business and give full play to the role of commercial factoring in expanding exports, promoting circulation and solving the financing difficulties of small and medium-sized enterprises, etc.
(14) We shall allow foreign investors to establish pawning enterprises in the PFTZ. Foreign investors may enjoy the same establishment conditions and be governed by the same supervision and management regulations as prescribed in the Measures for the Administration of Pawning Enterprises, which also applies to domestic pawing enterprises.
(15) We shall support the financial leasing enterprises in the PFTZ to accelerate the innovation of financial leasing business and allow qualified financial leasing companies to establish professional subsidiaries. We also shall support the financial leasing enterprises in the PFTZ to establish project companies to offer such financial leasing products as large equipment and complete sets of equipment leasing and carry out global financial leasing business on the condition that they conform to relevant regulations. The domestic-invested financial leasing enterprises established in the PFTZ may enjoy the same treatment as the existing domestic-invested pilot financial leasing enterprises.
(16) We shall allow foreign investors to establish enterprises in the PFTZ in the form of sole proprietorship and construct and operate as many as gas stations as they plan to without a restriction on the number of stores.
(17) We shall study and look for ways to further cancel or relax such access requirements as qualification requirements, the number of holdings and scope of business for Hong Kong and Macao service providers who intend to make investment in the China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone on the basis of Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement.
4. Improve market competition environment
(18) We shall support the PFTZ to carry out the parallel import of automobiles and establish multi-channel and diversified automobile circulation modes. The pilot enterprises may apply to the Ministry of Commerce for Automatic Import Licenses for automobile products.
(19) We shall guide the PFTZ to carry out the pilot program of commodity spot trading, establish and improve institutional rules, strengthen risk prevention and promote the construction of commodity spot trading and resource allocation platform.
(20) We shall carry out the pilot program of reforming the financial leasing management mode for financial leasing enterprises in the PFTZ, unify the management mode of domestic-invested and foreign-invested financial leasing enterprises, build a unified supervision and management system for on-site supervision, authority appointment, information submission and verification, etc, and explore to establish a system for administrating the filling and credit of financial leasing enterprises and recording poor-operated financial leasing enterprises.
(21) We shall support the PFTZ to carry out the pilot program of reforming the foreign investment statistics and implement a direct reporting system for foreign investment statistics.
(22) We shall guide the PFTZ to build a sound complaint authority to accept and handle foreign investment complaints, innovate the settlement mechanism for investment disputes related to government behaviors, and constantly improve the protection level of investment in China by foreign investors.
(23) We shall support the PFTZ to construct a “go out” integrated information service platform and take the governments, business associations, enterprises, financial institutions, intermediary organizations and others of this sort as information carriers to timely release relevant policies and publish market needs and project cooperation information so as to provide comprehensive information services for the enterprises in the PFTZ to “go out” to the outside world.
(24) We shall support the PFTZ to cooperate with the Ministry of Commerce to carry out centralized anti-monopoly examination. Entrusted by the Ministry of Commerce, the PFTZ shall urge the operators of enterprises, which reach the threshold of notification as stipulated by the State of Council, to file centralized declaration with the Ministry of Commerce. As for the operators who shall but do not file declaration accordingly, or those who initiate the implementation of their investment without approval, the PFTZ shall file a centralized report to the Ministry of Commerce and assist the Ministry of Commerce to carry out investigation over these operators. As for the operators of enterprises whose investment is prohibitive or has additional conditions, the PFTZ shall assist the Ministry of Commerce to supervise and deal with them.
(25) We shall guide the PFTZ to build a safety warning system. In accordance with the Foreign Trade Law and the characteristics of its openness and on the basis of four-linkage mechanism, the PFTZ shall build a suitable pre-warning system which will not only expand its opening-up to the outside world but also ensure the safety of our country industry.
5. Evaluate and summarize the effect of pilot programs
(26) The provincial departments of commerce of Tianjin, Shanghai, Fujian and Guangdong shall strictly streamline administration, delegate power, relax relevant requirements and optimize service as prescribed in these opinions. They shall support the PFTZ to play a pioneering and daring role in the implementation of pilot programs, go ahead in a down-to-earth manner and timely evaluate and summarize the effect of these pilot programs.
The Ministry of Commerce
August 25, 2015