On 28 June 2017, the National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC”) and the Ministry of Commerce (“MOFCOM”) jointly issued the Catalogue of Industries for Guiding Foreign Investment (2017 revisions) (the “new Catalogue”), effective from 28 July 2017. The new Catalogue is to replace the existing Catalogue issued in 2015 (“2015 Catalogue”).
The issuance of this document follows on from an executive meeting of the State Council on 28 December 2016, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, which approved new guidelines to further attract foreign investment. The conclusions of this meeting highlighted a need to:
(i) Amend the Catalogue to encourage foreign investment;
(ii) Encourage foreign enterprises to invest in high-end manufacturing industry and services;
(iii) Promote the “Negative List” system to regulate pre-approvals for foreign investment.
Subsequently, the State Council on January 2017 published a new policy on foreign investment (Guo Fa  No. 5) setting out 20 measures. This clarified that the Catalogue would be amended to relax restrictions on foreign investment and operations in the Chinese service, manufacturing and mining sectors.
To implement these State Council policies, the NDRC and MOFCOM jointly revised the 2015 Catalogue. The new Catalogue is the 7th revision since the first publication of the Catalogue in 1995. The layout of the Catalogue has been realigned to confirm with the new “negative list” system. This allows for simple MOFCOM recordals to be made for investments in industries where foreign investment is encouraged or permitted, with pre-approvals limited to industries where investment is restricted. Detailed analysis of the new Catalogue are set out in this Alert.