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China Matters: MOFCOMs Circular 51 just streamlining foreign investments in retail and wholesale sectors or refl ecting a quiet transformation of MOFCOM?

September 18, 2008

By David S. Wang

There appears to be a recent trend for the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) to delegate its review responsibility and approval authority to its provincial branches (COFTECs). In June, MOFCOM issued Circular 23 to delegate review responsibility over filings of real estate foreign invested enterprises (FIEs) to provincial COFTECs and in August, MOFCOM issued Circular 50 to delegate its approval authority for certain FIEs and foreign invested joint stock companies (FIJSCs), again to provincial COFTECs. Then, on September 12, 2008, MOFCOM further delegated its approval authority in the Circular on Delegation of Approval Authority on Foreign Invested Commercial Enterprises (FICEs) (Circular 51), which will likely streamline the approval process for enterprises in the commercial sector, including retail and wholesale

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