On June 9, 2009, the State Administration for Foreign Exchange (“SAFE”) issued the Notice on Certain Issues Relating to Foreign Exchange Administration on Offshore Lending by Domestic Enterprises (the “Notice”) effective as of August 1, 2009, in an effort to deal with the difficulties faced by offshore Chinese-funded enterprises that have “gone abroad” in obtaining financing offshore and increasing working capital, to encourage more domestic enterprises with strong capital strength to “go abroad”, and to enhance the use of funds by domestic enterprises.
King & Wood’s Finance Group
Previously, regulatory requirements with regard to offshore lending were mainly found in the 2004 SAFE Notice on Certain Issues Relating to Internal Management of Foreign Currency Funds by the Multinational Companies (the “2004 Notice”). The purpose of the 2004 Notice was to optimize the allocation of foreign currency funds and to facilitate the utilization of foreign currency inter- company loans between members of multinational companies headquartered in the PRC. In accordance with Clause 23 of the new Notice, if there is any inconsistency between the 2004 Notice and the new Notice, the new Notice shall prevail. We set out below an introduction on the key features of the Notice and its relevant provisions.
Key Features of the Notice
1. Lender and Borrower under an Offshore Lending
In accordance with the Notice, eligible domestic enterprises of any type would be permitted to provide foreign currency loans to their wholly owned subsidiaries or for the equity of enterprises legally incorporated offshore.
2. Qualification Requirements for Offshore Lending
The requirements set out in the Notice for offshore lending by domestic enterprises to their offshore wholly-owned subsidiaries or equity interests include: Both the lender and the borrower have been legally incorporated with fully paid-up registered capitals; All foreign direct investment projects of the lender in the past years have been verified by the regulatory authorities in charge of foreign investments and filed with SAFE under foreign exchange registrations, and the lender (incorporated and existing for more than one year) has gained a second (or above)-grade ranking in the latest joint annual inspection of foreign investments, etc.
3. Forms of Offshore Lending
The forms of offshore lending as provided in the Notice are as follows:
(1) Direct lending, namely the domestic enterprise extends loan facilities directly to its wholly-owned subsidiaries or equity interests legally incorporated offshore;
(2) Entrustment loans, namely lending in the form of entrustment loans through a designated foreign exchange bank or the finance company of an enterprises group duly incorporated and qualified to conduct foreign exchange business.
4. Lending Threshold
The Notice supervises the offshore lending outstanding balance amount, and provides that the outstanding balance of a lender’s offshore lending shall be limited to the lower of: (i) 30% of the lender’s owner equity, and (ii) the duly registered investment amount of the Chinese party as agreed.
5. Verification of Outbound Remittance of Funds
The Notice simplifies the verification procedure of outbound remittance of foreign exchange funds. Subject to the verified offshore lending threshold and the effective term of lending, domestic enterprises engaged in offshore lending are permitted to re-lend the funds that have been repaid without the need to obtain SAFE verification for each of the loans.
6. Sources of Funds for Lending
The sources of funds for offshore lending as provided in the Notice have been expanded to not only include the self-owned foreign currency funds of the lender (as provided in the 2004 Notice), but also includes foreign currency funds converted from RMB funds and the funds in the foreign exchange capital pool as verified by SAFE.
7. The Income and Payment Scope of the Special Account for Lending
Compared to the 2004 Notice, the Notice has enlarged the income and payment scope of the Special Account for Lending.
8. Domestic Transfer of Funds
The Notice simplifies the verification procedure for domestic transfer of funds under offshore lending. Except for the outbound remittance of funds under the offshore lending from the Special Account for Lending and the inbound remittance of funds for repayment of principal and interest or enforcement of security to the Special Account for Lending, other domestic transfers of funds between the relevant foreign exchange accounts and the Special Account for Lending would not be subject to verification by the local SAFE. The lender may proceed with such transfer with the designated foreign exchange bank by presenting the relevant verification documents in respect of the offshore lending.
9. Statistical Monitoring and Risk Precaution under Offshore Lending
The Notice improves the statistical monitoring and risk precaution mechanism under offshore lending. For example, matters such as the verification of the offshore lending threshold, the opening of the Special Account for Lending, the domestic transfer of foreign exchange capital and the outbound and inbound remittance are supervised under the SAFE foreign exchange administration information system for foreign direct investments. Meanwhile, the Notice provides SAFE with the discretion to make timely adjustments to the qualification requirements for offshore lending, the sources of funds, the amount and the term of the lending etc., according to the balance of payments and the development in the offshore lending business.
Compared to the 2004 Notice, the Notice has reduced the qualification requirements for offshore lending, expanded the sources of funds, and simplified the verification and remittance procedure for offshore lending. Currently, domestic enterprises have achieved great success in their offshore investments. However, the difficulty in obtaining financing offshore and the shortage of floating capital has been an obstacle to the further developments of offshore Chinese funded enterprises. The issue of the Notice would encourage more Chinese enterprises with strong capital strength to “go abroad”, further facilitate investment and trading so as to stabilize the offshore demands and to deal with the international financial crisis in an effective way.
下简称“外管局”）于2009 年6 月9 日发布了《关于境内企业境外放款外汇管理有关问
题的通知》（以下简称“《通知》”），并将于2009 年8 月1 日起开始实施。
年10 月18 日颁布的《国家外汇管理局关于跨国公司外汇资金内部运营管理有关问题
的通知》（以下简称“汇发【2004】104 号文”）。汇发【2004】104 号文旨在优化外汇
《通知》第23 条的规定，汇发【2004】104 号文中涉及境外放款的外汇管理条款与