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Rules on foreign resident offices updated
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An update to the longstanding administrative measures for resident offices of foreign firms was released on Friday for public review.

The amendment to the existing measure, now in its 25th year, was drafted by the State Council's Office of Legislative Affairs and posted on its website (Chinalaw.gov.cn) through consultation with relevant departments and discussion seminars with industry and experts.

The public can comment on the proposed amendments until Sept 25, via the website, by mail or e-mail to DBJG@chinalaw.gov.cn, the office said in a statement.

The revision seeks to reconcile the current measures approved in 1983, with the socioeconomic as well as legal environment of the times, an unidentified head of the office told the Xinhua News Agency.

It specifies the characteristics, scopes of operation, and legal rights and responsibilities of all resident offices of foreign firms.

For the first time, the revision defines such offices as those not qualified as legal persons and engaging in non-direct-profit-making operations. Exceptions are made for those offering legal, accounting, auditing, bookkeeping, taxation, and administrative and consultative services as per prior agreements, or those provided for or otherwise outlined in international pacts and agreements China has signed.

Under the proposed amendments, the offices are free to choose their address and length of stay in line with existing Chinese law and regulations, and their chief representatives or representatives are approved, under certain conditions, of the right to sign a contract through permission in writing.

(China Daily August 30, 2008)

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