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12 Jan 2022

China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment and Ministry of Commerce

China: Government releases new guidelines on ecological protection for overseas projects

[Tentative translation provided by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre]

Notice on Issuing the "Guidelines for Ecological and Environmental Protection in Foreign Investment and Cooperation Projects"

In order to thoroughly realise the Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilisation, implement the decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, promote the sustainable development of foreign investment and cooperation and the construction of a green “Belt and Road”, improve the environmental management level of foreign investment cooperation projects, and better serve the construction of a new development pattern, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment and the Ministry of Commerce have formulated the Guidelines for Ecological and Environmental Protection in Foreign Investment and Cooperation Projects, which are hereby issued to you. Please implement them in light of the actual situation. [...]

Article 3   Enterprises implementing foreign investment cooperation projects shall abide by the ecological environment laws, regulations and policy standards of the host country (region), and apply for the ecological environmental protection licenses as required. If the host country (region) does not have relevant standards or the standard requirements are low, on the basis of ecological environment protection, it is encouraged to adopt the internationally accepted rules and standards or China's stricter standards. [...]

Article 5   Before carrying out mergers and acquisitions, an enterprise may, through environmental due diligence and other methods, evaluate the ecological damage, environmental pollution, environmental protection penalties, environmental litigation, environmental protection facilities operation and relevant ecological and environmental risks caused by the target to be acquired in the history of business activities, focusing on assessing hazardous waste disposal, soil, groundwater, greenhouse gas emissions and atmospheric environmental impacts. [...]

Article 7   Enterprises should carry out environmental impact assessments in accordance with the laws and regulations of the host country (region), and take reasonable measures to reduce and eliminate possible adverse impacts. If the host country (region) lacks environmental impact assessment requirements, it may refer to the internationally accepted rules and standards or Chinese standards to organise and carry out environmental impact assessment work. [...]

Article 23   Enterprises should strengthen contact and communication with local environmental management departments, exchange information on the project's ecological and environmental protection, and actively seek their opinions and suggestions. Enterprises should actively strengthen communication with potentially affected communities, relevant social groups and the public, and listen to opinions and suggestions on the environmental impact of the project through forums, hearings, etc. [...]