Circular of the State Council on the Implementation Program for the Cleaning Up the Examination and Approval of Investment Projects(Mainland China)

Zoe Qiao
On May 16, 2016, the State Council promulgated the Implementation Program for the Cleaning Up the Examination and Approval Items for Investment Projects (hereinafter, the “Implementation Program”), which is an important measure for streamlining policies and reducing the procedural complexity of investment projects and thereby accelerate investment progress and increase the willingness to invest.
The so-called “examination and approval items for investment projects” refers to the administrative examinations and approval items handled by relevant departments and units after the approval of the investment item application or the feasibility research report but before construction officially begins. Such administrative examination items require a basis either from the law or the administrative examination catalogue approved by the State Council before the public may be required to undergo such examination procedure. In addition, the Implementation Program also confirms the principle that for issues that the approval institutions may resolve with the opinions of the relevant departments, or those that may otherwise be resolved through subsequent supervision, approvals are no longer required, thereby sorting out and reducing investment items that require reporting and approvals. Furthermore, approval items that are retained will also undergo substantial optimization so that there is a single contact for service, parallel processing, definite processing time for conclusion and uniform responses, thereby reducing the overall cost.
A total of 65 items are included in the examination and approval items for investment projects for cleanup, among which 34 items are kept for requiring approvals, 24 items on planning permits and municipal constructions on merged into 8, and all matters relating to environmental concerns are retained to require approval. Meanwhile, two examination and approval items are changed to solicitation of comments among departments, and five examination and approval items which involve compulsory safety evaluation are not included in the administrative examination and approval maters.
The administrative examination and approval items involving the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development sees the greatest changes this time. The Implementation Program retains five items, with the 11 remaining merged into four based on the areas of management involved, which are urban landscaping, municipal infrastructure, urban water supply and drainage, and urban planning (specifically, “issuance of permits for construction project planning,” “examination and approval of construction and development involving urban green lands,” “examination and approval of municipal infrastructure development,” and “examination and approval of the demolition, modification or relocation of water supply, drainage and sewage processing facilities due to construction and development needs”). The remaining integration items mostly involve administrative examination and approval items concerning the Ministry of Water Resources, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage and the State Forestry Administration.