China: 京都论法 | 外商投资法实施条例(征求意见稿)要点解读与评论

Last Updated: 3 December 2019
Article by Zhou Shuiqing

  《中华人民共和国外商投资法》(以下简称《外商投资法》)于2019年3月15日由全国人大通过,并将于2020年1月1日起施行。为保障《外商投资法》的有效实施,司法部于2019年11月1日发布《中华人民共和国外商投资法实施条例(征求意见稿)》(以下简称《征求意见稿》), 向社会公开征求意见,有关单位和各界人士可以在2019年12月1日前对上述征求意见稿提出意见。

  《征求意见稿》备受关注的一些内容

  《征求意见稿》一共45条,分为总则、投资促进、投资保护、投资管理和附则等5个章节,对《外商投资法》中未明确规定但一直备受关注的一些问题进行了明确规定。主要包括但不限于以下几个方面:

  1.中国自然人可以与外国投资者设立外商投资企业

  在传统的外资三法下,中国自然人是不能与外国投资者设立合资企业或合作企业的。为了方便外资并购境内自然人设立的境内企业,商务部2006年《关于外国投资者并购境内企业的规定》允许被并购境内公司的中国自然人股东,经批准,可继续作为变更后所设外商投资企业的中方投资者。新的《外商投资法》第二条使用"其他投资者"来表述,没有列举"其他投资者"的范围,但也没有排除中国自然人投资者。《征求意见稿》第3条规定:"外国投资者依法可以单独或者与包括中国的自然人在内的其他投资者共同在中国境内投资",明确了中国的自然人可以是中外合资企业的中方投资者。

  2.不取得股权股份的特定项目投资也属于外商投资

  《外商投资法》第二条规定的外商投资范围不仅包括新设和并购,还包括"投资新建项目"。《征求意见稿》进一步明确规定:"外商投资法第二条第二款第三项所称在中国境内投资新建项目,是指外国投资者在中国境内对特定项目建设进行投资,但不设立外商投资企业,不取得中国境内企业的股份、股权、财产份额或者其他类似权益。"因此,外国投资者不在中国境内设立或者并购企业,不取得中国企业的股份股权,而仅依靠合同关系(例如自然资源勘探开发特许权协议、公用事业建设或基础设施建设运营特许权协议等)进行的投资项目,也属于外商投资的范围,对于该等新建项目也适用《外商投资法》下的外商投资管理制度(比如信息报告制度、安全审查制度等)。

  3.国家建立知识产权侵权惩罚性赔偿制度和快速协同保护机制

  《征求意见稿》第24条规定:"国家建立知识产权侵权惩罚性赔偿制度,推动建立知识产权快速协同保护机制,健全知识产权纠纷多元化解决机制和知识产权维权援助机制,加大对外国投资者和外商投资企业知识产权的保护力度。"

  《征求意见稿》还进一步明确规定:

  (1)标准制定中应当依法平等保护外国投资者和外商投资企业的知识产权(第24条);

  (2)行政机关不得利用行政管理职责的行为强制或者变相强制外国投资者、外商投资企业转让技术(第25条);

  (3)严格限制行政机关依法履行职责时需要外国投资者、外商投资企业所提供涉及其商业秘密的材料、信息的范围;行政机关与履行职责无关的工作人员不得接触涉及该等商业秘密的材料和信息;行政机关依法需要公开履行职责信息的,不得含有商业秘密的内容;行政机关需要与其他行政机关共享信息的,除法律法规另有规定外,应当对信息中含有的商业秘密进行相应处理防止泄露(第26条)。

  4.100%中国基因的外资企业不受外资准入负面清单的有关限制

  根据《征求意见稿》第35条,中国的自然人或外商投资企业以外的中国法人或者其他组织在中国境外设立的全资企业在中国境内投资的,经国务院有关主管部门审核并报国务院批准,可以不受外商投资准入负面清单规定的有关准入特别管理措施的限制。对于该类投资,因为是中国自然人或除外商投资企业外的中国法人或组织在境外设立的全资企业的投资,具有100%的中国基因,在获得国务院有关主管部门审核并报国务院批准后,可以不受外商投资准入负面清单规定的有关准入特别管理措施的限制。

  值得注意的是,《征求意见稿》第35条并没有改变《外商投资法》对于外商投资的定义。上述有100%中国基因的投资仍然属于外国投资, 但是在满足"全资"+"经国务院有关主管部门审核并报国务院批准"二个条件下,可以不受外资准入负面清单的有关限制。

  另一个值得注意的是,《征求意见稿》第35条所涉及的这种实质重于形式的穿透式监管并没有涉及带有境外融资的"混血"式的返程投资,也没有涉及VIE结构下的有关协议控制。

  5.现有外商投资企业应在5年内变更与公司法等不符的组织形式结构等

  为了尽可能方便依照"外资三法"设立的现有外商投资企业调整组织形式等,《征求意见稿》第42条明确规定:现有外商投资企业的"组织形式、组织机构等与《中华人民共和国公司法》、《中华人民共和国合伙企业法》等法律的强制性规定不一致的,国家鼓励其在外商投资法施行后5年内依法办理变更手续。"在2025年1月1日前未依法办理变更手续的,"应当自2025年1月1日起6个月内依法办理变更手续,逾期未办理的,企业登记机关不予办理该企业的其他登记事项,并可以将相关情形在企业信息公示系统中公示。"

  《征求意见稿》第43条明确规定:"现有外商投资企业合营、合作各方在合同中约定的收益分配方法、剩余财产分配方法等,在合营、合作期限内可以继续按照约定办理。"

  6.港澳台及华侨投资参照外商投资法和实施条例执行

  根据《国务院关于鼓励华侨和香港、澳门同胞投资的规定》和其他相关规定,港澳台和华侨投资是参照外商投资进行管理的, 但是《外商投资法》并没有做出这方面的明文规定。为保持港澳台投资管理政策的连续性稳定性,《征求意见稿》第44条明确规定:香港特别行政区、澳门特别行政区投资者在内地投资,参照外商投资法和本条例执行,法律、行政法规或者国务院另有规定的除外。台湾地区投资者在大陆投资,适用台湾同胞保护法及其实施细则的规定,未规定的事项参照外商投资法和本条例执行。同时,《征求意见稿》第44条还明确规定:华侨在中国境内投资,参照外商投资法和本条例执行。

《征求意见稿》没有涉及的一些问题

1.VIE架构下的协议控制是否属于外商投资的范围

  VIE模式(Variable Interest Entities),即所谓的"协议控制"模式,是指境外注册的上市实体与境内的业务运营实体相分离,境外的上市实体通过协议的而非入股的方式控制境内的业务实体,业务实体就是境外上市实体的VIEs(可变利益实体)。

  2015年外商投资法草案首次将协议控制(VIE架构)纳入外国投资的定义范畴,将外国投资者通过VIE架构控制的境内企业视为外资公司,使之受到外资行业准入政策的限制,这一变化引起了一大批以VIE模式海外上市的中国互联网等领域的公司的关注与不安。《外商投资法》正式文本删除了VIE架构相关内容。

  《征求意见稿》的第三十五条虽然在外资准入方面引入了实质重于形式的穿透式监管,但并没有涉及VIE架构下的协议控制。我国法律对于VIE架构的监管继续处于灰色地带。但是《外商投资法》第二条在列举"外商投资"形式时,有一个兜底条款,即"法律、行政法规或者国务院规定的其他方式的投资"。或许这为以后监管VIE预留空间。

  2.关联并购是否要继续审批

  根据商务部2006年《关于外国投资者并购境内企业的规定》,中国境内的法人或自然人以其在境外合法设立或控制的公司名义并购与其有关联关系的境内的公司,应报商务部审批。该规定建立了我国关联并购商务部审批制度。

  但是在《外商投资法》负面清单管理制度项下,只有列入负面清单的限制类和禁止类外商投资才需要准入管理。关联并购从逻辑上讲不属于准入管理范围,因此,在外资三法废止后,继续将关联并购列入商务部审批范围之内,似乎缺乏法律依据。如果关联并购在《外商投资法》实施后继续需要由商务部审批,则至少需要行政法规层面进行授权,或者直接在负面清单中加以规定。

  3.安全审查制度的管理办法有待制定

  2015年外商投资法草案曾起草了专门一章对国家安全审查制度作出规定,试图在国家法律层面对安全审查制度作出较为完备的规定。《外商投资法》只保留了第三十五条一个条文作出对安全审查做出原则性的规定。《征求意见稿》则没有对安全审查制度做出任何进一步的规定或解释。

  目前外商投资领域有关安全审查制度的规定主要有国务院办公厅2011年《关于建立外国投资者并购境内企业安全审查制度的通知》和2011年《商务部实施外国投资者并购境内企业安全审查制度的规定》。这些规定只涉及到外资并购时的安全审查。因此,更加全面的安全审查制度还有待国务院作出进一步的规定或者在行政法规层面进行相关的立法。

  4.现行外资法规和相关政策的清理和调整

  《外商投资法》废除了外资三法,确立了一个新的外商投资法律体系。现有的基于旧的外资三法制订的行政法规和部门规章等就不可避免的有和新的《外商投资法》所确立的原则相冲突的地方。为了适应《外商投资法》和《征求意见稿》确立的新的框架和规则,对商务、发改、市场监管、外汇,和财税等领域涉及外商投资企业的各项现行外资法规和诸多的政策进行"立改废"的清理和调整是非常紧迫和必要的。但是《外商投资法》对于基于外资三法制定的行政法规、部门规章和规范性文件的效力以及如何清理调整并未作出明文规定。《征求意见稿》也没有对此作出相关的规定。

 展望

  《外商投资法》确立了新形式下外商投资法律的基本制度框架和规则。《征求意见稿》也对《外商投资法》的许多原则性的规定进行了进一步的具体化。但是《外商投资法》中《征求意见稿》所没有涉及的一些原则性规定和要求还需更详细的规章制度和地方性法规来最终细化实施。伴随着各级立法机关对现有法律法规以及各类规范性文件的清理,《征求意见稿》的进一步完善和实施,《外商投资法》所确立的新的外商投资法律体系必将逐步建立和完善,并对国家的开放和经济发展产生积极而深远的影响。

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