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Investment Problems Reporting Mechanism Set up

The Ministry of Commerce said yesterday it has set up a reporting mechanism to report on obstacles faced by Chinese outbound investors, a move to intensify China's emerging outbound investing.


The mechanism is being completed due to increasing obstacles investors are facing at foreign destinations, a spokesman from the Ministry's Department of Economic Cooperation said.


Commercial counselor's offices, other official commercial services, industrial associations and outbound investors are encouraged to report investment bottlenecks to the ministry, the official said.


"The ministry will compile reports about these problems and publish them regularly to warn potential investors of the risks," the spokesman said.


More important, the ministry will start negotiations to find solutions to solve issues as they crop up.


While China is gaining power to go abroad, problems blocking investment also arise. A recent big problem was a gang of Spaniards who in September were part of 500 demonstrators in the Carrus industrial zone in Elche, the capital of the country's footware industry, who set fire to Chinese-owned warehouse under the slogan "Chinese out."


The ministry recently has organized policies to support China's outbound investment, which actually benefit the economies of investment destinations.


In October, the ministry issued a rule to streamline its approval procedures for overseas investment by domestic companies. Enterprises only need to submit application materials on five subjects, instead of the current 10 and additional investment destinations only require the approval of local foreign trade authorities.


In July, the ministry released the first industry-based guidelines on Chinese investments in overseas markets, which cover 67 nations and a variety of industries, highlighting the agriculture, mining, manufacturing and service sectors.


The outward FDI of Chinese companies reached US$2.85 billion last year, up 5.5 percent year-on-year. That number increased the country's total overseas investment to US$33.2 billion by the end of 2003.


Some 3,439 mainland enterprises have established 7,470 companies in 139 countries or regions by the end of last year.


The overseas investment by Chinese companies requires more support at the initial stages, said Qin Lin, a Siqiao Textile Co Ltd manager.


He said few companies master all investment policies in the destinations, not to mention unfair practices they may face.


For example, some EU member states impose very strict controls on foreign investments in chain stores. Investing in a new supermarket in France not requires a vote of all local residents, it demands the approval of the local retailer's association in the affected area.


A large supermarket group in Shanghai encountered great difficulties in investing a Chinese supermarket in Brussels, Belgium.


(China Daily November 18, 2004)

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