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Tuesday, July 19, 2016, 09:51

China eases investment rules in free trade zones

By Xinhua

BEIJING - The Chinese government has decided to ease investment rules in four free trade zones (FTZs), temporarily allowing foreign investors to found wholly-owned enterprises in a number of fields, including iron and steel production and gas station operations, according to the central government website on Tuesday.

The resolution on temporary adjustment of regulations for administrative approvals in the Shanghai, Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian FTZs was passed by the National People's Congress Standing Committee, it said.

The adjustment contains a total of 51 items, with more than 20 of them involving changes from administrative approval to managerial registration for foreign investment.

It also approved wholly foreign owned enterprises in dozens of areas outside of the negative list on foreign investment, covering sectors ranging from agriculture to transportation.

For the Guangdong free trade zone, the Ministry of Public Security has promised a series of favorable policies for skilled foreign workers.

Among the 16 measures are simplified permanent residence application procedures and fast-track approvals for skilled foreign workers in the zone, support for foreign students' start-ups, accelerated visas and residency application channels for overseas Chinese and lower thresholds for investors in the zone to apply for permanent residency, according to a ministry statement released on Monday.

"These new exit-entry policies and measures are based on the free trade zone's urgent demand for high-caliber foreign talent, overseas Chinese returning to start businesses, young foreign students and investors to realize innovation-driven development of the zone," the ministry said.

Other measures include allowing foreigners who meet salary and taxation standards to apply for permanent residency, a fast track from work permits to permanent residency for high-caliber talent, and visa exemptions for personnel from certain countries within specified times at Guangdong customs.

The measures will take effect on Aug 1, the ministry said.

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