China loosens outbound investment control

China’s government has relaxed its grip on outbound direct investment (ODI) as domestic enterprises begin to invest heavily abroad, reports Xinhua, an official news agency.

The State Council, China’s cabinet, released this week a much shorter list of ODI projects needing government approval. That’s in order to encourage enterprises to enter the international market.

Gu Dawei, member of the National Development and Reform Commission, estimated that around 99 percent of investment projects included in the previous list are now free from long government procedures, and will only need to go through a registration system.

Investment restrictions still exist for a few industries and in countries that are at war; are under sanctions; or without diplomatic relations with China, according to Xinhua.

Long Guoqiang of the State Council’s Development Research Centre was quoted saying the new ODI system eliminates barriers and might help China absorb foreign technology.

Chinese enterprises have been keen on investing overseas during the past decade with robust mergers and acquisitions in manufacturing, infrastructure, energy, minerals, agriculture and culture.

China’s ODI by non-financial firms rose 17.8 percent from a year ago in the first ten months of 2014 to US$81.9 billion, the country’s Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday.

“China will soon become a net capital exporter with ODI growth over 10 percent for the next five years,” said Zhang Xiangchen, Assistant Minister of Commerce, according to Xinhua.