3-1 Policies Governing Foreign Firms Importing Direct for Domestic Sale
In the past, approval was required to conduct foreign trade in China. Only those enterprises with "import-export right" and "business licence for wholesale and retail" could import goods into China to be sold on the domestic market. The import-export right of FIEs was restricted to the import of parts and components and equipment for own use. They had no right to import other goods.
The Chinese government has been gradually easing restrictions over foreign trade in fulfillment of its WTO commitment. With the promulgation of the Measures for the Filing and Registration of Foreign Trade Operators, China has now fully liberalised its foreign trade regime. FIEs can now freely engage in import-export business in China. Under the new Measures for the Administration of Commercial Enterprises with Foreign Investment implemented since June 2004, foreign-invested wholesalers may import and export goods, and foreign-invested retailers may import goods that they deal in. In other words, FIEs may establish distribution or foreign trade operations to engage in the distribution of imported goods (with the exception of those goods under the management of state trading).
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