The Ministry of Commerce issued “Circular of the Ministry of Commerce on Further Expanding Reform and Opening up to Stabilize Foreign Investment Amid the COVID-19 Epidemic” on 1st April 2020 (hereinafter is referred as the “Circular”) and laid out twenty four measures in five aspects. Shanghai Dongjin finds the below as the main points.
- Fully Support Foreign-invested Enterprises to Resume Normal Production and Operation Order
Serve the initiation and implementation of major foreign investment projects. The government will perfect the tracking service mechanism for major foreign investment projects, effectively screen out key projects, collect project information, dynamically update the repository of major projects, and implement account management and whole-process tracking services. The government will provide effective service safeguards for major foreign investment projects under construction, help to coordinate the solution of problems in respect of return to work, materials, logistics and other aspects, strengthen safeguards for land use, energy use, funds and other elements, and speed up construction progress. The government will closely follow up the progress in major foreign investment projects currently under negotiation, and continue to promote the implementation of major foreign investment projects through "one-to-one" services, "direct access channels" and other means.
- Promote Opening up at a Higher Level
Further expanding the scope of fields where foreign investment is encouraged. All localities shall make good use of the incentive policies, step up business and investment promotion and attract relevant foreign-invested enterprises to make gradient transfers to central, western and northeastern regions.
Promote the construction of pilot free trade zones and free trade ports.
Promote the innovation and improvement of national economic and technological development zones.
The government will thoroughly implement the Opinions of the State Council on Promoting National Economic and Technological Development Zones to Innovate, Improve and Build Themselves into New Highlands of Reform and Opening up (Guo Fa  No.11).
- Further Promote the Reform of "Delegating Power, Improving Regulation, and Upgrading Services” in the Field of Commerce
Promote the reform of the national economic and technological development zone system and mechanism. The government will step up the empowerment of national economic and technological development zones and explore and list empowerment items for them.
Make good use of the special funds for foreign trade and economic development. The government will implement the Circular of the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Finance on Making Good Use of the Special Funds for Domestic and Foreign Trade to Support Stabilizing Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment and Boosting Consumption (Shang Ban Cai Han  No.98), strengthen service guidance, make full and good use of various financial support policies, and give full play to the role of central fiscal funds in promoting the construction of various open platforms and improving the foreign investment service system.
- Strengthen the Service and Promotion of Foreign Investment
The government will make full use of informatization means and continue to step up business and investment promotion through long-distance promotion, video conferencing, online negotiation, "on-cloud contract signing" and other methods of online business promotion.
- Continue to Optimize the Environment for Foreign Investment
Safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors. All localities shall strengthen the establishment of agencies for handling complaints from foreign-invested enterprises, improve working rules on complaints, enhance handling efficiency, strengthen the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors and promptly correct acts of unfair treatment of foreign-invested enterprises; and earnestly perform all kinds of contracts legally signed in investment promotion activities, promptly honor policy commitments made to foreign investors and foreign-invested enterprises in accordance with the law, and attract and retain enterprises by offering them a favorable business environment.
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