HomeReportsInvestment Climate Statements...Custom Report - f27203eb9a hide Investment Climate Statements Custom Report Excerpts: China, India, Macau, Nigeria Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs Sort by Country Sort by Section In this section / China Executive Summary 1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment 3. Legal Regime 4. Industrial Policies 5. Protection of Property Rights 6. Financial Sector 7. State-Owned Enterprises 8. Responsible Business Conduct 9. Corruption 10. Political and Security Environment 11. Labor Policies and Practices 13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics India Executive Summary 1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment 2. Bilateral Investment Agreements and Taxation Treaties 3. Legal Regime 4. Industrial Policies 5. Protection of Property Rights 6. Financial Sector 7. State-Owned Enterprises 8. Responsible Business Conduct 9. Corruption 10. Political and Security Environment 11. Labor Policies and Practices 13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics Macau Executive Summary 1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment 3. Legal Regime 4. Industrial Policies 5. Protection of Property Rights 6. Financial Sector 7. State-Owned Enterprises 8. Responsible Business Conduct 9. Corruption 10. Political and Security Environment 11. Labor Policies and Practices 13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics Nigeria Executive Summary 1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment 3. Legal Regime 4. Industrial Policies 5. Protection of Property Rights 6. Financial Sector 7. State-Owned Enterprises 8. Responsible Business Conduct 9. Corruption 10. Political and Security Environment 11. Labor Policies and Practices 13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics China Executive Summary The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is the top global Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) destination after the United States due to its large consumer base and integrated supply chains. In 2019, China made some modest openings in the financial sector and passed key pieces of legislation, including a new Foreign Investment Law (FIL). China remains, however, a relatively restrictive investment environment for foreign investors due to restrictions in key economic sectors. Obstacles to investment include ownership caps and requirements to form joint venture partnerships with local Chinese firms, industrial policies such as Made in China 2025 (MIC 2025), as well as pressures on U.S. firms to transfer technology as a prerequisite to gaining market access. These restrictions shield Chinese enterprises – especially state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and other enterprises deemed “national champions” – from competition with foreign companies. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 2019 marked the 70th anniversary of its rule, amidst a wave of Hong Kong protests and international concerns regarding forced labor camps in Xinjiang. Since the CCP 19th Party Congress in 2017, CCP leadership has underscored Chairman Xi Jinping’s leadership and expanded the role of the party in all facets of Chinese life: cultural, social, military, and economic. An increasingly assertive CCP has caused concern among the foreign business community about the ability of future foreign investors to make decisions based on commercial and profit considerations, rather than CCP political dictates. Key investment announcements and new developments in 2019 included: On March 17, 2019, the National People’s Congress passed the new FIL that effectively replaced previous laws governing foreign investment. On June 30, 2019, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) jointly announced the release of China’s three “lists” to guide FDI. Two “negative lists” identify the industries and economic sectors from which foreign investment is restricted or prohibited based on location, and the third list identifies sectors in which foreign investments are encouraged. In 2019, some substantial openings were made in China’s financial services sector. The State Council also approved the Regulation on Optimizing the Business Environment and Opinions on Further Improving the Utilization of Foreign Investment, which were intended to assuage foreign investors’ mounting concerns with the pace of economic reforms. While Chinese pronouncements of greater market access and fair treatment of foreign investment are welcome, details and effective implementation are needed to improve the investment environment and restore investors’ confidence. As China’s economic growth continues to slow, officially declining to 6.1% in 2019 – the slowest growth rate in nearly three decades – the CCP will need to deepen its economic reforms and implementation. Moreover, the emergence of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Wuhan, China in December 2019, will place further strain on China’s economic growth and global supply chains. Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2019 137 of 180 http://www.transparency.org/ research/cpi/overview World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2019 31 of 190 http://www.doingbusiness.org/ en/rankings Global Innovation Index 2019 14 of 126 https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/ analysis-indicator U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2018 USD116,518 https://apps.bea.gov/international/ factsheet/ World Bank GNI per capita 2018 USD9,460 http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/ NY.GNP.PCAP.CD 1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment China continues to be one of the largest recipients of global FDI due to a relatively high economic growth rate and an expanding consumer base that demands diverse, high-quality products. FDI has historically played an essential role in China’s economic development. However, due to recent stagnant FDI growth and gaps in China’s domestic technology and labor capabilities, Chinese government officials have prioritized promoting relatively friendly FDI policies promising market access expansion and non-discriminatory, “national treatment” for foreign enterprises through general improvements to the business environment. They also have made efforts to strengthen China’s regulatory framework to enhance broader market-based competition. In 2019, China issued an updated nationwide “negative list” that made some modest openings to foreign investment, most notably in the financial sector, and promised future improvements to the investment climate through the implementation of China’s new FIL. MOFCOM reported that FDI flows to China grew by 5.8 percent year-on-year in 2019, reaching USD137 billion. In 2019, U.S. businesses expressed concern over China’s weak protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR); corruption; discriminatory and non-transparent anti-monopoly enforcement that forces foreign companies to license technology at below-market prices; excessive cyber security and personal data-related requirements; increased emphasis on the role of CCP cells in foreign enterprises, and an unreliable legal system lacking in both transparency and the rule of law. American Chamber of Commerce China 2019 American Business in China White Paper American Chamber of Commerce China 2019 Business Climate Survey S.-China Business Council’s 2019 China Business Environment Member Survey China seeks to support inbound FDI through the “Invest in China” website, where MOFCOM publishes laws, statistics, and other relevant information about investing in China. Further, each province has a provincial-level investment promotion agency that operates under the guidance of local-level commerce departments. See: MOFCOM’s Investment Promotion Website Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment Entry into the Chinese market is regulated by the country’s “negative lists,” which identify the sectors in which foreign investment is restricted or prohibited, and a catalogue for encouraged foreign investment, which identifies the sectors the government encourages foreign investment to be allocated to. The Special Administrative Measures for Foreign Investment Access (̈the “Nationwide Negative List”); The Special Administrative Measures for Foreign Investment Access to Pilot Free Trade Zones (the “FTZ Negative List”) used in China’s 18 FTZs The Industry Catalogue for Encouraged Foreign Investment (also known as the “FIC”). The central government has used the FIC to encourage FDI inflows to key sectors – in particular semiconductors and other high-tech industries that would help China achieve MIC 2025 objectives. The FIC is subdivided into a cross-sector nationwide catalogue and a separate catalogue for western and central regions, China’s least developed regions. In addition to the above lists, MOFCOM and NDRC also release the annual Market Access Negative List to guide investments. This negative list – unlike the nationwide negative list that applies only to foreign investors – defines prohibitions and restrictions for all investors, foreign and domestic. Launched in 2016, this negative list attempted to unify guidance on allowable investments previously found in piecemeal laws and regulations. This list also highlights what economic sectors are only open to state-owned investors. In restricted industries, foreign investors face equity caps or joint venture requirements to ensure control is maintained by a Chinese national and enterprise. These requirements are often used to compel foreign investors to transfer technology in order to participate in China’s market. Foreign companies have reported these dictates and decisions are often made behind closed doors and are thus difficult to attribute as official Chinese government policy. Foreign investors report fearing government retaliation if they publicly raise instances of technology coercion. Below are a few examples of industries where these sorts of investment restrictions apply: Preschool, general high school, and higher education institutes require a Chinese partner. Establishment of medical institutions also require a Chinese JV partner. Examples of foreign investment sectors requiring Chinese control include: Selective breeding and seed production for new varieties of wheat and corn. Basic telecommunication services. Radio and television listenership and viewership market research. Examples of foreign investment equity caps include: 50 percent in automobile manufacturing (except special and new energy vehicles); 50 percent in value-added telecom services (except e-commerce domestic multiparty communications, storage and forwarding, call center services); 50 percent in manufacturing of commercial and passenger vehicles. The 2019 editions of the nationwide and FTZ negative lists and the FIC for foreign investment came into effect July 30, 2019. The central government updated the Market Access Negative List in October 2019. The 2019 foreign investment negative lists made minor modifications to some industries, reducing the number of restrictions and prohibitions from 48 to 40 in the nationwide negative list, and from 45 to 37 in China’s pilot FTZs. Notable changes included openings in the oil and gas sector, telecommunications, and shipping of marine products. On July 2, 2019, Premier Li Keqiang announced new openings in the financial sector, including lifting foreign equity caps for futures by January 2020, fund management by April, and securities by December. While U.S. businesses welcomed market openings, many foreign investors remained underwhelmed and disappointed by Chinese government’s lack of ambition and refusal to provide more significant liberalization. Foreign investors noted these announced measures occurred mainly in industries that domestic Chinese companies already dominate. Other Investment Policy Reviews China is not a member of the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), but the OECD Council established a country program of dialogue and co-operation with China in October 1995. The OECD completed its most recent investment policy review for China in 2008 and published an update in 2013. OECD 2008 Report OECD 2013 Update China’s 2001 accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) boosted China’s economic growth and advanced its legal and governmental reforms. The WTO completed its most recent investment trade review for China in 2018, highlighting that China remains a major destination for FDI inflows, especially in real estate, leasing and business services, and wholesale and retail trade. WTO Investment Trade Review for China International Monetary Fund (IMF) information on China FDI Statistics from MOFCOM Business Facilitation In 2019, China climbed more than 40 spots in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Survey to 31st place out of 190 economies. This was partly due to regulatory reforms that helped streamline some business processes, including improvements to addressing delays in construction permits and resolving insolvency. This ranking does not account for major challenges U.S. businesses face in China like IPR violations and forced technology transfer. Moreover, China’s ranking is based on data limited only to the business environments in Beijing and Shanghai. World Bank Ease of Doing Business Created in 2018, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) is now responsible for business registration processes. The State Council established a new website in English, which is more user-friendly than SAMR’s website, to assist foreign investors looking to do business in China. In December 2019, China also launched a Chinese-language nationwide government service platform on the State Council’s official website. The platform connected 40 central government agencies with 31 provincial governments, providing information on licensing and project approvals by specific agencies. The central government published the website under its “improving the business climate” reform agenda, claiming that the website consolidates information and offers cross-regional government online services. The State Council Information on Doing Business in China Nationwide Government Service Platform Foreign companies still complain about continued challenges when setting up a business relative to their Chinese competitors. Numerous companies offer consulting, legal, and accounting services for establishing wholly foreign-owned enterprises, partnership enterprises, joint ventures, and representative offices in China. Investors should review their options carefully with an experienced advisor before choosing a corporate entity or investment vehicle. Outward Investment Since 2001, China has pursued a “going-out” investment policy. At first, the Chinese government mainly encouraged SOEs to secure natural resources and facilitate market access for Chinese exports. In recent years, China’s overseas investments have diversified with both state and private enterprises investing in nearly all industries and economic sectors. While China remains a major global investor, total outbound direct investment (ODI) flows fell 8.2 percent year-on-year in 2019 to USD110.6 billion, according to MOFCOM data. In order to suppress significant capital outflow pressure, the Chinese government created “encouraged,” “restricted,” and “prohibited” outbound investment categories in 2016 to guide Chinese investors, especially in Europe and the United States. While the guidelines restricted Chinese outbound investment in sectors like property, hotels, cinemas, entertainment, and sports teams, they encouraged outbound investment in sectors that supported Chinese industrial policy by acquiring advanced manufacturing and high-tech assets. Chinese firms involved in MIC 2025 targeted sectors often receive preferential government financing, subsidies, and access to an opaque network of investors to promote and provide incentives for outbound investment. The guidance also encourages investments that promote China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, which seeks to create connectivity and cooperation agreements between China and dozens of countries via infrastructure investment, construction projects, real estate, etc. 3. Legal Regime Transparency of the Regulatory System One of China’s WTO accession commitments was to establish an official journal dedicated to the publication of laws, regulations, and other measures pertaining to or affecting trade in goods, services, trade related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS), and the control of foreign exchange. Despite mandatory 30-day public comment periods, Chinese ministries continue to post only some draft administrative regulations and departmental rules online, often with a public comment period of less than 30 days. U.S. businesses operating in China consistently cite arbitrary legal enforcement and the lack of regulatory transparency among the top challenges of doing business in China. Government agencies often do not make available for public comment and proceed to publish “normative documents” (opinions, circulars, notices, etc.) or other quasi-legal measures to address situations where there is no explicit law or administrative regulation in place. When Chinese officials claim an assessment or study was made for a law, the methodology of the study and the results are not made available to the public. As a result, foreign investors face a regulatory system rife with inconsistencies. In China’s state-dominated economic system, the relationships are often blurred between the CCP, the Chinese government, Chinese business (state- and private-owned), and other Chinese stakeholders. Foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) perceive that China prioritizes political goals, industrial policies, and a desire to protect social stability at the expense of foreign investors, fairness, and the rule of law. The World Bank Global Indicators of Regulatory Governance gave China a composite score of 1.75 out 5 points, attributing China’s relatively low score to the futility of foreign companies appealing administrative authorities’ decisions to the domestic court system; not having easily accessible and updated laws and regulations; the lack of impact assessments conducted prior to issuing new laws; and other concerns about transparency. For accounting standards, Chinese companies use the Chinese Accounting Standards for Business Enterprises (ASBE) for all financial reporting within mainland China. Companies listed overseas or in Hong Kong may choose to use ASBE, the International Financial Reporting Standards, or Hong Kong Financial Reporting Standards. International Regulatory Considerations As part of its WTO accession agreement, China agreed to notify the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) of all draft technical regulations. However, China continues to issue draft technical regulations without proper notification to the TBT Committee. Legal System and Judicial Independence The Chinese legal system borrows heavily from continental European legal systems, but with “Chinese characteristics.” The rules governing commercial activities are found in various laws, regulations, and judicial interpretations, including China’s civil law, contract law, partnership enterprises law, security law, insurance law, enterprises bankruptcy law, labor law, and several interpretations and regulations issued by the Supreme People’s Court (SPC). While China does not have specialized commercial courts, it has created specialized courts and tribunals for the hearing of intellectual property disputes, including in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai. In October 2018, the National People’s Congress approved the establishment of a national SPC appellate tribunal to hear civil and administrative appeals of technically complex intellectual property (IP) cases. China’s constitution and various laws provide contradictory statements about court independence and the right of judges to exercise adjudicative power free from interference by administrative organs, public organizations, or powerful individuals. In practice, regulators heavily influence courts, and the Chinese constitution establishes the supremacy of the “leadership of the communist party.” U.S. companies often avoid challenging administrative decisions or bringing commercial disputes before local courts due to perceptions of futility or government retaliation. Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment China’s new investment law, the FIL, was passed on March 2019 and came into force on January 1, 2020, replacing China’s previous foreign investment framework. The FIL provides a five-year transition period for foreign enterprises established under previous foreign investment laws, after which all foreign enterprises will be subject to the same domestic laws as Chinese companies, such as the Company Law and, where applicable, the Partnership Enterprise Law. The FIL intends to abolish the case-by-case review and approval system on market access for foreign investment and standardize the regulatory regimes for foreign investment by including the negative list management system, a foreign investment information reporting system, and a foreign investment security review system all under one document. The FIL also seeks to address common complaints from foreign business and government by explicitly banning forced technology transfers, promising better IPR protection, and establishing a complaint mechanism for investors to report administrative abuses. However, foreign investors complain that the FIL and its implementing regulations lack substantive guidance, providing Chinese ministries and local officials significant regulatory discretion, including the ability to retaliate against foreign companies. In addition to the FIL, in 2019, the State Council issued other substantive guidelines and administrative regulations, including: Implementing Regulations of the Foreign Investment Law of the People’s Republic of China (Implementing Regulations); Measures for Foreign Investment Information Reporting (Measures No. 2 ); Notice of the General Office of the State Council on Launching the Security Review System for Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors (Notice 6); Regulation on Optimizing the Business Environment (Order No. 722); and Opinions on Further Improving the Utilization of Foreign Investment (Opinions 2019). Other relevant legislation issued by government entities in 2019, include: Supreme Court Judicial Interpretation of the FIL Draft legislation issued by other government entities in 2020: Draft Amendments to the Anti-Monopoly Law; In addition to central government laws and implementation guidelines, ministries and local regulators have issued over 1,000 rules and regulatory documents that directly affect foreign investments within their geographical areas. While not comprehensive, a list of published and official Chinese laws and regulations is available at: http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/ . FDI Laws on Investment Approvals Foreign investments in industries and economic sectors that are not explicitly restricted or prohibited on the foreign investment negative or market access lists do not require MOFCOM pre-approval. However, investors have complained that in practice, investing in an industry not on the negative list does not guarantee a foreign investor “national treatment,” or treatment no less favorable than treatment accorded to a similarly-situated domestic investor. Foreign investors must still comply with other steps and approvals like receiving land rights, business licenses, and other necessary permits. When a foreign investment needs ratification from the NDRC or a local development and reform commission, that administrative body is in charge of assessing the project’s compliance with a panoply of Chinese laws and regulations. In some cases, NDRC also solicits the opinions of relevant Chinese industrial regulators and consulting agencies acting on behalf of Chinese domestic firms, creating potential conflicts of interest disadvantageous to foreign firms. Competition and Anti-Trust Laws The Anti-Monopoly Bureau of the SAMR enforces China’s Anti-Monopoly Law (AML) and oversees competition issues at the central and provincial levels. The agency reviews mergers and acquisitions, and investigates cartel and other anticompetitive agreements, abuse of a dominant market position, and abuse of administrative powers by government agencies. SAMR issues new implementation guidelines and antitrust provisions to fill in gaps in the AML, address new trends in China’s market, and help foster transparency in AML enforcement. Generally, SAMR has sought public comment on proposed measures and guidelines, although comment periods can be less than 30 days. In 2019, the agency put into effect provisions on abuse of market dominance, prohibition of monopoly agreements, and restraint against abuse of administrative powers to restrict competition. In January 2020, SAMR published draft amendments to the AML for comment, which included, among other changes, stepped-up fines for AML violations and expanded factors to consider abuse of market dominance by Internet companies. (This is the first step in a lengthy process to amend the AML.) SAMR also oversees the Fair Competition Review System (FCRS), which requires government agencies to conduct a review prior to issuing new and revising existing laws, regulations, and guidelines to ensure such measures do not inhibit competition. While these are seen as positive measures, foreign businesses have complained that enforcement of competition policy is uneven in practice and tends to focus on foreign companies. Foreign companies have expressed concern that the government uses AML enforcement as an extension of China’s industrial policies, particularly for companies operating in strategic sectors. The AML explicitly protects the lawful operations of government monopolies in industries that affect the national economy or national security. U.S. companies have expressed concerns that SAMR consults with other Chinese agencies when reviewing M&A transactions, allowing other agencies to raise concerns, including those not related to antitrust enforcement, in order to block, delay, or force transacting parties to comply with preconditions in order to receive approval. Foreign companies have also complained that China’s enforcement of AML facilitated forced technology transfer or licensing to local competitors. Expropriation and Compensation Chinese law prohibits nationalization of FIEs, except under vaguely specified “special circumstances” where there is a national security or public interest need. Chinese law requires fair compensation for an expropriated foreign investment, but does not detail the method used to calculate the value of the foreign investment. The Department of State is not aware of any cases since 1979 in which China has expropriated a U.S. investment, although the Department has notified Congress through the annual 527 Investment Dispute Report of several cases of concern. Dispute Settlement ICSID Convention and New York Convention China is a contracting state to the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID Convention) and has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention). Chinese legislation that provides for enforcement of foreign arbitral awards related to these two Conventions includes the Arbitration Law adopted in 1994, the Civil Procedure Law adopted in 1991 (later amended in 2012), the law on Chinese-Foreign Equity Joint Ventures adopted in 1979 (amended most recently in 2001), and a number of other laws with similar provisions. The Arbitration Law embraced many of the fundamental principles of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law’s Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration. Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) Initially, China was disinclined to accept ISDS as a method to resolve investment disputes based on its suspicions of international law and international arbitration, as well as its emphasis on state sovereignty. China’s early BITs, such as the 1982 China–Sweden BIT, only included state–state dispute settlement. As China has become a capital exporter under its initiative of “Going Global” and infrastructure investments under the OBOR initiative, its views on ISDS have shifted to allow foreign investors with unobstructed access to international arbitration to resolve any investment dispute that cannot be amicably settled within six months. Chinese investors did not use ISDS mechanisms until 2007, and the first known ISDS case against China was initiated in 2011 by Malaysian investors. On July 19, 2019, China submitted its proposal on ISDS reform to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group III. Under the proposal, China reaffirmed its commitment to ISDS as an important mechanism for resolving investor-state disputes under public international law. However, it suggested various pathways for ISDS reform, including supporting the study of a permanent appellate body. including supporting the study of a permanent appellate body. International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts Chinese officials typically urge private parties to resolve commercial disputes through informal conciliation. If formal mediation is necessary, Chinese parties and the authorities typically prefer arbitration to litigation. Many contract disputes require arbitration by the Beijing-based China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC). Established by the State Council in 1956 under the auspices of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), CIETAC is China’s most widely utilized arbitral body for foreign-related disputes. Some foreign parties have obtained favorable rulings from CIETAC, while others have questioned CIETAC’s fairness and effectiveness. Besides CIETAC, there are also provincial and municipal arbitration commissions. A foreign party may also seek arbitration in some instances from an offshore commission. Foreign companies often encounter challenges in enforcing arbitration decisions issued by Chinese and foreign arbitration bodies. In these instances, foreign investors may appeal to higher courts. The Chinese government and judicial bodies do not maintain a public record of investment disputes. The SPC maintains an annual count of the number of cases involving foreigners but does not provide details about the cases. Rulings in some cases are open to the public. In 2018, the SPC established the China International Commercial Court (CICC) to adjudicate international commercial cases, especially cases related to the OBOR initiative. The first CICC was established in Shenzhen, followed by a second court in Xi’an. The court held its first public hearing on May 2019, involving a Chinese company suing an Italian company, and issued its first ruling on March 2020, siding with the Chinese company. Parties to a dispute before the CICC can only be represented by Chinese law-qualified lawyers, as foreign lawyers do not have a right of audience in Chinese courts. Unlike other international courts, foreign judges are not permitted to be part of the proceedings. Judgments of the CICC, given it is a part of the SPC, cannot be appealed from, but are subject to possible “retrial” under the Civil Procedure Law. Local contacts and academics note that to-date, the CICC has not reviewed any OBOR or infrastructure related cases and question the CICC’s ability to provide “equal protection” to foreign investors. China has bilateral agreements with 27 countries on the recognition and enforcement of foreign court judgments, but not with the United States. However, under Chinese law, local courts must prioritize China’s laws and other regulatory measures above foreign court judgments. Bankruptcy Regulations China introduced formal bankruptcy laws in 2007, under the Enterprise Bankruptcy Law, which applied to all companies incorporated under Chinese laws and subject to Chinese regulations. However, courts routinely rejected applications from struggling businesses and their creditors due to the lack of implementation guidelines and concerns over social unrest. Local government-led negotiations resolved most corporate debt disputes, using asset liquidation as the main insolvency procedure. Many insolvent Chinese companies survived on state subsidies and loans from state-owned banks, while others defaulted on their debts with minimal payments to creditors. After a decade of heavy borrowing, China’s growth has slowed and forced the government to make needed bankruptcy reforms. China now has more than 90 U.S.-style specialized bankruptcy courts. In 2019, the government added new courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. Court-appointed administrators—law firms and accounting firms that help verify claims, organize creditors’ meetings, and list and sell assets online as authorities look to handle more cases and process them faster. China’s SPC recorded over 19,000 liquidation and bankruptcy cases in 2019, double the number of cases in 2017. While Chinese authorities are taking steps to address mounting corporate debt and are gradually allowing some companies to fail, companies generally avoid pursing bankruptcy because of the potential for local government interference and fear of losing control over the bankruptcy outcome. According to experts, Chinese courts not only lack the resources and capacity to handle bankruptcy cases, but bankruptcy administrators, clerks, and judges lack relevant experience. 4. Industrial Policies Investment Incentives To attract foreign investment, different provinces and municipalities offer preferential packages like a temporary reduction in taxes, resources and land use benefits, reduction in import or export duties, special treatment in obtaining basic infrastructure services, streamlined government approvals, research and development subsidies, and funding for initial startups. Often, these packages stipulate that foreign investors must meet certain benchmarks for exports, local content, technology transfer, and other requirements. The Chinese government incentivizes foreign investors to participate in initiatives like MIC 2025 that seek to transform China into an innovation-based economy. Announced in 2015, China’s MIC 2025 roadmap has prioritized the following industries: new-generation information technology, advanced numerical-control machine tools and robotics, aerospace equipment, maritime engineering equipment and vessels, advanced rail, new-energy vehicles, energy equipment, agricultural equipment, new materials, and biopharmaceuticals and medical equipment. While mentions of MIC 2025 have all but disappeared from public discourse, a raft of policy announcements at the national and sub-national levels indicate China’s continued commitment to developing these sectors. Foreign investment plays an important role in helping China move up the manufacturing value chain. However, foreign investment remains closed off to many economic sectors that China deems sensitive due to broadly defined national or economic security concerns. Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation In 2013, the State Council announced the Shanghai pilot FTZ to provide open and high-standard trade and investment services to foreign companies. China gradually scaled up its FTZ pilot program to 12 FTZs, launching an additional six FTZs in 2019. China’s FTZs are in: Tianjin, Guangdong, Fujian, Chongqing, Hainan, Henan, Hubei, Liaoning, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Guanxi, and Yunnan provinces. The goal of all of China’s FTZs is to provide a trial ground for trade and investment liberalization measures and to introduce service sector reforms, especially in financial services, that China expects to eventually introduce in other parts of the domestic economy. The FTZs promise foreign investors “national treatment” for the market access phase of an investment in industries and sectors not listed on the FTZ negative list, or on the list of industries and economic sectors from which foreign investment is restricted or prohibited. However, the 2019 FTZ negative list lacked substantive changes, and many foreign firms have reported that in practice, the degree of liberalization in the FTZs is comparable to opportunities in other parts of China. The stated purpose of FTZs is also to integrate these areas more closely with the OBOR initiative. Performance and Data Localization Requirements As part of China’s WTO accession agreement, the PRC government promised to revise its foreign investment laws to eliminate sections that imposed on foreign investors requirements for export performance, local content, balanced foreign exchange through trade, technology transfer, and research and development as a prerequisite to enter China’s market. In practice, China has not completely lived up to these promises. Some U.S. businesses report that local officials and regulators sometimes only accept investments with “voluntary” performance requirements or technology transfer that help develop certain domestic industries and support the local job market. Provincial and municipal governments will sometimes restrict access to local markets, government procurement, and public works projects even for foreign firms that have already invested in the province or municipality. In addition, Chinese regulators have reportedly pressured foreign firms in some sectors to disclose IP content or provide IP licenses to Chinese firms, often at below market rates. Furthermore, China’s evolving cybersecurity and personal data protection regime includes onerous restrictions on firms that generate or process data in China, such as requirements for certain firms to store data in China. Restrictions exist on the transfer of personal information of Chinese citizens outside of China. These restrictions have prompted many firms to review how their networks manage data. Foreign firms also fear that PRC laws call for the use of “secure and controllable,” “secure and trustworthy,” etc. technologies will curtail sales opportunities for foreign firms or pressure foreign companies to disclose source code and other proprietary intellectual property. In October 2019, China adopted a Cryptography Law that includes restrictive requirements for commercial encryption products that “involve national security, the national economy and people’s lives, and public interest.” This broad definition of commercial encryption products that must undergo a security assessment raises concerns that implementation will lead to unnecessary restrictions on foreign information and communications technology (ICT) products and services. Further, prescriptive technology adoption requirements, often in the form of domestic standards that diverge from global norms, in effect give preference to domestic firms. These requirements potentially jeopardize IP protection and overall competitiveness of foreign firms operating in China. 5. Protection of Property Rights Real Property The Chinese state owns all urban land, and only the state can issue long-term land leases to individuals and companies, including foreigners, subject to many restrictions. Chinese property law stipulates that residential property rights renew automatically, while commercial and industrial grants renew if the renewal does not conflict with other public interest claims. Several foreign investors have reported revocation of land use rights so that Chinese developers could pursue government-designated building projects. Investors often complain about insufficient compensation in these cases. In rural China, collectively owned land use rights are more complicated. The registration system suffers from unclear ownership lines and disputed border claims, often at the expense of local farmers whom village leaders exclude in favor of “handshake deals” with commercial interests. China’s Securities Law defines debtor and guarantor rights, including rights to mortgage certain types of property and other tangible assets, including long-term leases. Chinese law does not prohibit foreigners from buying non-performing debt, but such debt must be acquired through state-owned asset management firms, and PRC officials often use bureaucratic hurdles to limit foreigners’ ability to liquidate assets. Intellectual Property Rights In 2019, China’s legislature promulgated multiple reforms to China’s IP protection and enforcement systems. In January, the Guidelines on Interim and Preliminary Injunctions for Intellectual Property Disputes came into force. These SPC guidelines provide added clarity to the IP injunction process and offer additional procedural safeguards for trade secret cases. In April, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress passed amendments to the Trademark Law, the Anti-Unfair Competition Law (AUCL), and the Administrative Licensing Law, among other legislation that increases the potential punitive penalty for willful infringement to up to five times the value of calculated damages. China also amended the Administrative Licensing Law to provide administrative penalties for government officials who illegally disclose trade secrets or require the transfer of technology for the granting of administrative licenses. Similarly, in March, China’s State Council revised several regulations that U.S. and EU enterprises and governments had criticized for discriminating against foreign technology and IP holders. Finally, in November, the Amended Guidelines for Patent Examination came into effect. This measure provides further procedural guidance and defines patentability requirements for stem cells and graphical user interfaces. Despite the changes to China’s legal and regulatory IP regime, some aspects of China’s IP protection regime fall short of international best practices. Ineffective enforcement of Chinese laws and regulations remains a significant obstacle for foreign investors trying to protect their IP, and counterfeit and pirated goods manufactured in China continue to pose a challenge. U.S. rights holders continued to experience widespread infringement of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets, as well as problems with competitors gaming China’s IP protection and enforcement systems. In some sectors, Chinese law imposes requirements that U.S. firms develop their IP in China or transfer their IP to Chinese entities as a condition to accessing the Chinese market, or to obtain tax and other preferential benefits available to domestic companies. Chinese policies can effectively require U.S. firms to localize research and development activities, making their IP much more susceptible to theft or illicit transfer. These practices are documented in the 2019 Section 301 Report released by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). The PRC also remained on the Priority Watch List in the 2020 USTR Special 301 Report, and several Chinese physical and online markets were listed in the 2019 USTR Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy. Under the recently signed U.S.-China Phase One trade agreement, China is required to make a number of structural reforms to its IP regime, which will be captured in an IP action plan. For detailed information on China’s environment for IPR protection and enforcement, please see the following reports: Economic And Trade Agreement Between The Government Of The United States Of America And The Government Of The People’s Republic Of China Text USTR Section 301 Report on China’s Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation USTR 2020 Special 301 Report (see section on China) USTR’s 2019 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers in China (see section on China) USTR’s 2019 Report to Congress on China’s WTO Compliance USTR’s 2019 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy (see China) 6. Financial Sector Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment China’s leadership has stated that it seeks to build a modern, highly-developed, and multi-tiered capital market. Since their founding over three decades ago, the Shanghai and Shenzhen Exchanges, combined, are ranked the second largest stock market in the world with over USD5 trillion in assets. China’s bond market has similarly expanded significantly to become the third largest worldwide, totaling approximately USD13 trillion. Direct investment by private equity and venture capital firms has increased significantly, but has faced setbacks due to China’s capital controls, which complicate the repatriation of returns. In December 2019, the State Council and China’s banking and securities regulatory authorities issued a set of measures that would remove in 2020 foreign ownership caps in select segments of China’s financial sector. Specifically, foreign investors can wholly own insurance and futures firms as of January 1, asset management companies as of April 1, and securities firms as of December 1, 2020. China has been an IMF Article VIII member since 1996 and generally refrains from restrictions on payments and transfers for current international transactions. However, the government has used administrative and preferential policies to encourage credit allocation towards national priorities, such as infrastructure investments. As of 2019, over 40 sovereign entities and private sector firms, including Daimler and Standard Chartered HK, have since issued roughly USD48 billion in “Panda Bonds,” Chinese renminbi (RMB)-denominated debt issued by foreign entities in China. China’s private sector can also access credit via bank loans, bond issuance, and wealth management and trust products. However, the vast majority of bank credit is disbursed to state-owned firms, largely due to distortions in China’s banking sector that have incentivized lending to state-affiliated entities over their private sector counterparts. The Monetary and Banking System China’s monetary policy is run by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), China’s central bank. The PBOC has traditionally deployed various policy tools, such as open market operations, reserve requirement ratios, benchmark rates and medium-term lending facilities, to control credit growth. The PBOC had previously also set quotas on how much banks could lend, but abandoned the practice in 1998. As part of its efforts to shift towards a more market-based system, the PBOC announced in 2019 that it will reform its one-year loan prime rate (LPR), which will serve as an anchor reference for Chinese lenders. The LPR is based on the interest rate for one-year loans that 18 banks offer their best customers. Despite these measures to move towards more market-based lending, China’s financial regulators still influence the volume and destination of Chinese bank loans through “window guidance” – unofficial directives delivered verbally – as well as through mandated lending targets for key economic groups, such as small and medium sized enterprises. The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) oversees China’s roughly 4,000 lending institutions. At the end of the first quarter of 2019, Chinese banks’ total assets reached RMB 276 trillion (USD40 trillion). China’s “Big Five” – Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, Bank of Communications, China Construction Bank, and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China – dominate the sector and are largely stable, but over the past year, China has experienced regional pockets of banking stress, especially among smaller lenders. Reflecting the level of weakness among these banks, in November 2019, the PBOC announced that about one in 10 of China’s banks received a “fail” rating following an industry-wide review. The assessment deemed 420 firms, all rural financial institutions, “extremely risky.” The official rate of non-performing loans among China’s banks is relatively low: below two percent as of the end of 2019. However, analysts believe the actual figure may be significantly higher. Bank loans continue to provide the majority of credit options (reportedly around 66 percent in 2019) for Chinese companies, although other sources of capital, such as corporate bonds, equity financing, and private equity are quickly expanding their scope, reach, and sophistication in China. In December 2019, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic emerged in Wuhan, China. In response, the PBOC established a variety of programs to stimulate the economy, including a re-lending scheme of USD4.28 billion and a special credit line of USD50 billion for policy banks. In addition, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technologies established a list of companies vital to COVID-19 efforts, which would be eligible to receive additional loans and subsidies from the Ministry of Finance. As part of a broad campaign to reduce debt and financial risk, Chinese regulators over the last several years have implemented measures to rein in the rapid growth of China’s “shadow banking” sector, which includes wealth management and trust products. These measures have achieved positive results: the share of trust loans, entrusted loans, and undiscounted bankers’ acceptances dropped a total of seven percent in 2019 as a share of total social financing (TSF) – a broad measure of available credit in China. TSF’s share of corporate bonds jumped from a negative 2.31 percent in 2017 to 12.7 percent in 2019. In October 2019, the CBIRC announced that foreign owned banks will be allowed to establish wholly-owned banks and branches in China. However, analysts noted there are often licenses and other procedures that can drag out the process in this sector, which is already dominated by local players. Nearly all of China’s major banks have correspondent banking relationships with foreign banks, including the Bank of China, which has correspondent banking relationships with more than 1,600 institutions in 179 countries and regions. Foreigners are eligible to open a bank account in China, but are required to present a passport and/or Chinese government issued identification. Foreign Exchange and Remittances Foreign Exchange While the central bank’s official position is that companies with proper documentation should be able to freely conduct business, in practice, companies have reported challenges and delays in obtaining approvals for foreign currency transactions by sub-national regulatory branches. Chinese authorities instituted strict capital control measures in 2016, when China recorded a surge in capital flight that reduced its foreign currency reserves by about USD1 trillion, stabilizing to around USD3 trillion today. China has since announced that it will gradually reduce those controls, but market analysts expect they would be re-imposed if capital outflows accelerate again. Chinese foreign exchange rules cap the maximum amount of RMB individuals are allowed to convert into other currencies at approximately USD50,000 each year and restrict them from directly transferring RMB abroad without prior approval from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE). In 2017, authorities further restricted overseas currency withdrawals by banning sales of life insurance products and capping credit card withdrawals at USD5,000 per transaction. SAFE has not reduced the USD50,000 quota, but during periods of higher than normal capital outflows, banks are reportedly instructed by SAFE to increase scrutiny over individuals’ requests for foreign currency and to require additional paperwork clarifying the intended use of the funds, with the express intent of slowing capital outflows. China’s exchange rate regime is managed within a band that allows the currency to rise or fall by 2 percent per day from the “reference rate” set each morning. In August 2019, the U.S. Treasury Department designated China a “currency manipulator,” given China’s large-scale interventions in the foreign exchange market. Treasury removed this designation in January 2020. Remittance Policies According to China’s FIL, as of January 1, 2020, funds associated with any forms of investment, including investment, profits, capital gains, returns from asset disposal, IPR loyalties, compensation, and liquidation proceeds, may be freely converted into any world currency for remittance. Under Chinese law, FIEs do not need pre-approval to open foreign exchange accounts and are allowed to retain income as foreign exchange or to convert it into RMB without quota requirements. The remittance of profits and dividends by FIEs is not subject to time limitations, but FIEs need to submit a series of documents to designated banks for review and approval. The review period is not fixed and is frequently completed within one or two working days of the submission of complete documents. For remittance of interest and principal on private foreign debt, firms must submit an application form, a foreign debt agreement, and the notice on repayment of the principal and interest. Banks will then check if the repayment volume is within the repayable principal. There are no specific rules on the remittance of royalties and management fees. In August 2018, SAFE raised the reserve requirement for foreign currency transactions from zero to 20 percent, significantly increasing the cost of foreign currency transactions. Sovereign Wealth Funds China officially has only one sovereign wealth fund (SWF), the China Investment Corporation (CIC), which was launched to help diversify China’s foreign exchange reserves. Established in 2007 with USD200 billion in initial registered capital, CIC currently manages over USD940 billion in assets as of the close of 2018 and invests on a 10-year time horizon. CIC has since evolved into three subsidiaries: CIC International was established in September 2011 with a mandate to invest in and manage overseas assets. It conducts public market equity and bond investments, hedge fund, multi-asset and real estate investments, private equity (including private credit) fund investments, co-investments, and minority investments as a financial investor. CIC Capital was incorporated in January 2015 with a mandate to specialize in making direct investments to enhance CIC’s investment in long-term assets. Central Huijin makes equity investments in Chinese state-owned financial institutions. CIC publishes an annual report containing information on its structure, investments, and returns. CIC invests in diverse sectors, including financial services, consumer products, information technology, high-end manufacturing, healthcare, energy, telecommunications, and utilities. China also operates other funds that function in part like sovereign wealth funds, including: China’s National Social Security Fund, with an estimated USD325 billion in assets; the China-Africa Development Fund (solely funded by the China Development Bank), with an estimated USD10 billion in assets; the SAFE Investment Company, with an estimated USD417.8 billion in assets; and China’s state-owned Silk Road Fund, established in December 2014 with USD40 billion in assets to foster investment in OBOR partner countries. Chinese state-run funds do not report the percentage of their assets that are invested domestically. However, Chinese state-run funds follow the voluntary code of good practices known as the Santiago Principles and participate in the IMF-hosted International Working Group on SWFs. The Chinese government does not have any formal policies specifying that CIC invest funds consistent with industrial policies or in government-designated projects, although CIC is expected to pursue government objectives. CIC generally adopts a “passive” role as a portfolio investor. 7. State-Owned Enterprises China has approximately 150,000 wholly-owned SOEs, of which 50,000 are owned by the central government, and the remainder by local or provincial governments. SOEs, both central and local, account for 30 to 40 percent of total gross domestic product (GDP) and about 20 percent of China’s total employment. Non-financial SOE assets totaled roughly USD30 trillion. SOEs can be found in all sectors of the economy, from tourism to heavy industries. In addition to wholly-owned enterprises, state funds are spread throughout the economy, such that the state may also be the majority or largest shareholder in a nominally private enterprise. China’s leading SOEs benefit from preferential government policies aimed at developing bigger and stronger “national champions.” SOEs enjoy favored access to essential economic inputs (land, hydrocarbons, finance, telecoms, and electricity) and exercise considerable power in markets like steel and minerals. SOEs have long enjoyed preferential access to credit and the ability to issue publicly traded equity and debt. A comprehensive, published list of all Chinese SOEs does not exist. PRC officials have indicated China intends to utilize OECD guidelines to improve the professionalism and independence of SOEs, including relying on Boards of Directors that are independent from political influence. Other recent reforms have included salary caps, limits on employee benefits, and attempts to create stock incentive programs for managers who have produced mixed results. However, analysts believe minor reforms will be ineffective if SOE administration and government policy remain intertwined, and Chinese officials have made minimal progress in fundamentally changing the regulation and business conduct of SOEs. SOEs continue to hold dominant shares in their respective industries, regardless of whether they are strategic, which may further restrain private investment in the economy. Among central SOEs managed by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), senior management positions are mainly filled by senior CCP members who report directly to the CCP, and double as the company’s party secretary. SOE executives outrank regulators in the CCP rank structure, which minimizes the effectiveness of regulators in implementing reforms. The lack of management independence and the controlling ownership interest of the state make SOEs de facto arms of the government, subject to government direction and interference. SOEs are rarely the defendant in legal disputes, and when they are, they almost always prevail. U.S. companies often complain about the lack of transparency and objectivity in commercial disputes with SOEs. Privatization Program Since 2013, the PRC government has periodically announced reforms to SOEs that included selling SOE shares to outside investors or a mixed ownership model, in which private companies invest in SOEs and outside managers are hired. The government has tried these approaches to improve SOE management structures, emphasize the use of financial benchmarks, and gradually infuse private capital into some sectors traditionally monopolized by SOEs like energy, telecommunications, and finance. In practice, however, reforms have been gradual, as the PRC government has struggled to implement its SOE reform vision and often preferred to utilize a SOE consolidation approach. Recently, Xi and other senior leaders have increasingly focused reform efforts on strengthening the role of the state as an investor or owner of capital, instead of the old SOE model in which the state was more directly involved in managing operations. 8. Responsible Business Conduct General awareness of RBC standards (including environmental, social, and governance issues) is a relatively new concept to most Chinese companies, especially companies that exclusively operate in China’s domestic market. Chinese laws that regulate business conduct use voluntary compliance, are often limited in scope, and are frequently cast aside when other economic priorities supersede RBC priorities. In addition, China lacks mature and independent non-governmental organizations (NGOs), investment funds, worker unions, and other business associations that promote RBC, further contributing to the general lack of awareness in Chinese business practices. The Foreign NGO Law remains a concern for U.S. organizations due to the restrictions on many NGO activities, including promotion of RBC and corporate social responsibility (CSR) best practices. For U.S. investors looking to partner with a Chinese company or expand operations, finding partners that meet internationally recognized standards in areas like labor, environmental protection, worker safety, and manufacturing best practices can be a significant challenge. However, the Chinese government has placed greater emphasis on protecting the environment and elevating sustainability as a key priority, resulting in more Chinese companies adding environmental concerns to their CSR initiatives. As part of these efforts, Chinese ministries have signed several memoranda of understanding with international organizations such as the OECD to cooperate on RBC initiatives. As a result, MOFCOM in 2016 launched the RBC Platform, which serves as the national contact point on RBC issues and supplies information to companies about RBC best practices in China. 9. Corruption Since Xi’s rise to power in 2012, China has undergone an intensive and large-scale anti-corruption campaign, with investigations reaching into all sectors of the government, military, and economy. Xi labeled endemic corruption an “existential threat” to the very survival of the CCP. Since then, each CCP annual plenum has touched on judicial, administrative, and CCP discipline reforms needed to root out corruption. In 2018, the CCP amended the constitution to enable the CCP’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) to become a state organ, calling the new body the National Supervisory Commission-Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (NSC-CCDI). The NSC-CCDI wields the power to investigate any public official and those involved in corrupt officials’ dealings. From 2012 to 2019, the NSC-CCDI claimed it investigated 2.78 million cases – more than the total of the preceding 10 years. In 2019 alone, the NSC-CCDI investigated 619,000 cases and disciplined approximately 587,000 individuals, of whom 45 were officials at or above the provincial or ministerial level. The PRC’s overseas fugitive-hunting campaign, called “Operation Skynet,” has led to the capture of more than 7,500 fugitives suspected of corruption who were living in other countries. The PRC did not notify host countries of these operations. In 2019 alone, NSC-CCDI reported apprehending 2,041 alleged fugitives suspected of official crimes, including 860 corrupt officials, as well as recovering about USD797.5 million in stolen money. Anecdotal information suggests the PRC’s anti-corruption crackdown is inconsistently and discretionarily applied, raising concerns among foreign companies in China. For example, to fight rampant commercial corruption in the medical/pharmaceutical sector, the PRC’s health authority issued “black lists” of firms and agents involved in commercial bribery, including several foreign companies. Anecdotal information suggests many PRC officials responsible for approving foreign investment projects, as well as some routine business transactions, delayed approvals so as not to arouse corruption suspicions, making it increasingly difficult to conduct normal commercial activity. While central government leadership has welcomed increased public participation in reporting suspected corruption at lower levels, direct criticism of central government leadership or policies remains off-limits and is seen as an existential threat to China’s political and social stability. China ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption in 2005 and participates in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and OECD anti-corruption initiatives. China has not signed the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery, although Chinese officials have expressed interest in participating in the OECD Working Group on Bribery meetings as an observer. Resources to Report Corruption The following government organization receives public reports of corruption: Anti-Corruption Reporting Center of the CCP Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the Ministry of Supervision, Telephone Number: +86 10 12388. 10. Political and Security Environment Foreign companies operating in China face a low risk of political violence. However, protests in Hong Kong in 2019 exposed foreign investors to political risk due to Hong Kong’s role as an international hub for investment into and out of China. The CCP also punished companies that expressed support for Hong Kong protesters — most notably, a Chinese boycott of the U.S. National Basketball Association after one team’s general manager expressed his personal view supporting the Hong Kong protesters. In the past, the PRC government has also encouraged protests or boycotts of products from countries like the United States, South Korea, Japan, Norway, Canada, and the Philippines, in retaliation for unrelated policy decisions. Examples of politically motivated economic retaliation against foreign firms include boycott campaigns against Korean retailer Lotte in 2016 and 2017 in retaliation for the South Korean government’s decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) to the Korean Peninsula; and the PRC’s retaliation against Canadian companies and citizens for Canada’s arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou. PRC authorities also have broad authority to prohibit travelers from leaving China (known as an “exit ban”) and have imposed exit bans to compel U.S. citizens to resolve business disputes, force settlement of court orders, or facilitate government investigations. Individuals not directly involved in legal proceedings or suspected of wrongdoing have also been subject to lengthy exit bans in order to compel family members or colleagues to cooperate with Chinese courts or investigations. Exit bans are often issued without notification to the foreign citizen or without clear legal recourse to appeal the exit ban decision. 11. Labor Policies and Practices For U.S. companies operating in China, finding, developing, and retaining domestic talent at the management and skilled technical staff levels remain challenging for foreign firms. In addition, labor costs, including salaries along with other production inputs, continue to rise. Foreign firms continue to cite air pollution concerns as a major hurdle in attracting and retaining qualified foreign talent. Chinese labor law does not provide for freedom of association or protect the right to strike. The PRC has not ratified the International Labor Organization conventions on freedom of association, collective bargaining, or forced labor, but it has ratified conventions prohibiting child labor and employment discrimination. Foreign companies complain of difficulty navigating China’s labor and social insurance laws, including local implementation guidelines. Compounding the complexity, due to ineffective enforcement of labor contract laws, Chinese domestic employers often hire local employees without contracts, putting foreign firms at a disadvantage. Without written contracts, workers struggle to prove employment, thus losing basic protections such as severance if terminated. Moreover, in 2018 and 2019, there were multiple U.S. government, media, and NGO reports that persons detained in internment camps in Xinjiang were subjected to forced labor in violation of international labor law and standards. In October 2019, CBP issued a Withhold Release Order barring importation into the United States of garments produced by Hetian Taida Apparel Co., Ltd. in Xinjiang, which were determined to be produced with prison or forced labor in violation of U.S. import laws. The Commerce Department added 28 Chinese commercial and government entities to its Entity List for their complicity in human rights abuses. The All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) is the only union recognized under the law. Establishing independent trade unions is illegal. The law allows for “collective bargaining,” but in practice, focuses solely on collective wage negotiations. The Trade Union Law gives the ACFTU, a CCP organ chaired by a member of the Politburo, control over all union organizations and activities, including enterprise-level unions. ACFTU enterprise unions require employers to pay mandatory fees, often through the local tax bureau, equaling a negotiated minimum of 0.5 percent to a standard two percent of total payroll. While labor laws do not protect the right to strike, “spontaneous” worker protests and work stoppages regularly occur. Official forums for mediation, arbitration, and other similar mechanisms of alternative dispute resolution often are ineffective in resolving labor disputes. Even when an arbitration award or legal judgment is obtained, getting local authorities to enforce judgments is problematic. 13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data: BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP ($M USD) 2019* $14,380,000 2018 $13,608,000 www.worldbank.org/en/country Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international Source of data: BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2018(**) $109,958 2018 $116,518 BEA data available at https://www.bea.gov/international/ direct-investment-and-multinational- enterprises-comprehensive-data Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) 2018(**) $39,557 2018 $39,473 BEA data available at https://www.bea.gov/international/ direct-investment-and-multinational- enterprises-comprehensive-data Total Inbound Stock as a % of GDP 2018(**) 15.9% 2018 12.1% UNCTAD data available at https://unctad.org.en/Pages/DIAE/ World% 20Investment%20Report/ Country-Fact-Sheets.aspx *China’s National Bureau of Statistics (converted at 6.8 RMB/USD estimate) **China’s 2019 Yearbook (Annual Economic Data from China’s Economic Ministries: MOFCOM, NBS, and Ministry of Finance) Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions) Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment Total Inward $2,814,067 100% Total Outward $1,982,270 100% China, PR: Hong Kong $1,378,383 48.96% China, PR: Hong Kong $958,904 48.37% British Virgin Islands $302,553 10.75% Cayman Islands $237,262 11.96% Japan $166,817 6.13% British Virgin Islands $119,658 6.03% Singapore $115,035 4.08% United States $67,038 3.38% Germany $78,394 2.78% Singapore $35,970 1.81% “0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000. Source: IMF Coordinated Direct Investment Survey (CDIS) Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment Portfolio Investment Assets Top Five Partners (Millions, US Dollars) Total Equity Securities Total Debt Securities All Countries $560,250 100% All Countries $303,4000 100% All Countries $256,849 100% China, PR: Hong Kong $179,672 32.0% China, PR: Hong Kong $121,883 40.1% China, PR: Hong Kong $57,789 22.5% Cayman Islands $47,917 8.5% Cayman Islands $28,323 9.3% British Virgin Island $38,230 14.8% British Virgin Island $40,270 7.1% Luxembourg $8,786 2.8% Cayman Islands $19,594 7.6% Luxembourg $13,712 2.4% Japan $7,012 2.3% Germany $7,660 2.9% Germany $12,294 2.1% Ireland $6,829 2.2% Singapore $7,122 2.7% India Executive Summary India’s GDP growth in 2019 declined to the slowest rate in over six years. Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Monetary Fund had reduced its growth prediction for FY 2020 to 4.8 percent from a previous estimate of 6.1 percent. The slowing growth reflected a sharp decline in private sector consumption and reduced activity in manufacturing, agriculture, and construction. The stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) in India has declined a full percentage point over the last six years according to data from the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). This mirrors a similar drop in Indian private investment during the same period. Non-performing assets continue to hold back banks’ profits and restrict their lending, particularly in the state banking sector. The collapse of the non-bank financial company Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) in 2018 led to a credit crunch that largely continued throughout 2019 and hampered consumer lending. Demographic increases mean India must generate over ten million new jobs every year – a challenge for the economy and policy makers. While difficult to measure, given the large size of the informal economy, several recent studies, in 2017-18 suggest India’s unemployment rate has risen significantly, perhaps event to a 40-year high. The Government of India has announced several measures to stimulate growth, including lowering the corporate tax rate, creating lower personal income tax brackets, implementing tax exemptions for startups, establishing ambitious targets for divestment of state-owned enterprises, withdrawing a surcharge imposed on foreign portfolio investors, and providing cash infusions into public sector banks. India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), also adopted a monetary policy that was accommodative of growth, reducing interest rates by a cumulative 135 basis points throughout 2019 to 5.15 percent. However, transmission remained a problem as banks, already struggling with large volumes of non-performing assets pressuring their balance sheets, were hesitant to lend or pass on the RBI’s rate cuts to consumers. The government actively courts foreign investment. In 2017, the government implemented moderate reforms aimed at easing investments in sectors such as single brand retail, pharmaceuticals, and private security. It also relaxed onerous rules for foreign investment in the construction sector. In August 2019, the government announced a new package of liberalization measures removing restrictions on FDI in multiple sectors to help spur the slowing economy. The new measures included permitting investments in coal mining and contract manufacturing through the so-called Automatic Route. India has continued to make major gains in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings in 2019, moving up 14 places to number 63 out of 190 economies evaluated. This jump follows India’s gain of 23 places in 2018 and 30 places in 2017. Nonetheless, India remains a difficult place to do business and additional economic reforms are necessary to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth. In April 2018, the RBI, announced, without prior stakeholder consultation, that all payment system providers must store their Indian transaction data only in India. The RBI mandate to store all “data related to payments systems” only in India went into effect on October 15, 2018, despite repeated requests by industry and the U.S. officials for a delay to allow for more consultations. In July 2019, the RBI, again without prior stakeholder consultation, retroactively expanded the scope of its 2018 data localization requirement to include banks, creating potential liabilities going back to late 2018. The RBI policy overwhelmingly and disproportionately affects U.S. banks and investors, who depend on the free flow of data both to achieve economies of scale and to protect customers by providing global real-time monitoring and analysis of fraud trends and cybersecurity. U.S. payments companies have been able to implement the mandate for the most part, though at great cost and potential damage to the long-term security of their Indian customer base, which will receive fewer services and no longer benefit from global fraud detection and AML/CFT protocols. Similarly, U.S. banks have been able to comply with RBI’s expanded mandate, though incurring significant compliance costs and increased risk of cybersecurity vulnerabilities. In addition to the RBI data localization directive for payments companies, the government formally introduced its draft Data Protection Bill in December 2019, which contains restrictions on all cross-border transfers of personal data in India. The Bill is currently under review by a Joint Parliamentary Committee and stipulates that personal data that are considered “critical” can only be stored in India. The Bill is based on the conclusions of a ten-person Committee of Experts, established by the Ministry of Information Technology (MeitY) in July 2017. On December 26, 2018, India unveiled new restrictions on foreign-owned e-commerce operations without any prior notification or opportunity to submit public comments. While Indian officials argue that these restrictions were mere “clarifications” of existing policy, the new guidelines constituted a major regulatory change that created several extensive new regulatory requirements and onerous compliance procedures. The disruption to foreign investors’ businesses was exacerbated by the refusal to extend the February 1, 2019 deadline for implementation. Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2019 80 of 180 https://www.transparency.org/ cpi2019 World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2019 63 of 190 https://www.doingbusiness.org/ en/rankings?region=south-asia Global Innovation Index 2019 52 of 127 https://www.wipo.int/ global_innovation_index/en/2019/ U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2018 $44,458 https://apps.bea.gov/ international/factsheet World Bank GNI per capita 2018 $2009.98 http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/ NY.GNP.PCAP.CD 1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment Policies toward Foreign Direct Investment Changes in India’s foreign investment rules are notified in two different ways: (1) Press Notes issued by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) for the vast majority of sectors, and (2) legislative action for insurance, pension funds, and state-owned enterprises in the coal sector. (Note: in January 2019, the government of India changed the name of DIPP to Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). End Note). FDI proposals in sensitive sectors will, however, require the additional approval of the Home Ministry. The DPIIT, under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, is the nodal investment promotion agency, responsible for the formulation of FDI policy and the facilitation of FDI inflows. It compiles all policies related to India’s FDI regime into a single document to make it easier for investors to understand, and this consolidated policy is updated every year. The updated policy can be accessed at: http://dipp.nic.in/foreign-direct-investment/foreign-direct-investment-policy. DPIIT, through the Foreign Investment Implementation Authority (FIIA), plays an active role in resolving foreign investors’ project implementation problems and disseminates information about the Indian investment climate to promote investments. The Department establishes bilateral economic cooperation agreements in the region and encourages and facilitates foreign technology collaborations with Indian companies and DPIIT oftentimes consults with ministries and stakeholders, but some relevant stakeholders report being left out of consultations. Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment In most sectors, foreign and domestic private entities can establish and own businesses and engage in remunerative activities. Several sectors of the economy continue to retain equity limits for foreign capital as well as management and control restrictions, which deter investment. For example, the 2015 Insurance Act raised FDI caps from 26 percent to 49 percent, but also limits for foreign capital as well as management and control restrictions, which deter investment. For example, the 2015 Insurance Act raised FDI caps from 26 percent to 49 percent, but also mandated that insurance companies retain “Indian management and control.” Similarly, in 2016, India allowed up to 100 percent FDI in domestic airlines; however, the issue of substantial ownership and effective control (SOEC) rules which mandate majority control by Indian nationals have not yet been clarified. A list of investment caps is accessible at: http://dipp.nic.in/foreign-direct-investment/foreign-direct-investment-policy . In 2017, the government implemented moderate reforms aimed at easing investments in sectors including single-brand retail, pharmaceuticals, and private security. It also relaxed onerous rules for foreign investment in the construction sector. All FDI must be reviewed under either an “Automatic Route” or “Government Route” process. The Automatic Route simply requires a foreign investor to notify the Reserve Bank of India of the investment. In contrast, investments requiring review under the Government Route must obtain the approval of the ministry with jurisdiction over the appropriate sector along with the concurrence of DPIIT. In August 2019, the government announced a new package of liberalization measures removing restrictions on FDI in multiple additional sectors to help spur the slowing economy. The new measures included permitting investments in coal mining and contract manufacturing through the Automatic Route. The new rules also eased restrictions on investment in single-brand retail. Screening of FDI Since the abolition of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board in 2017, appropriate ministries have screened FDI. FDI inflows were mostly directed towards the largest metropolitan areas – Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai – and the state of Gujarat. The services sector garnered the largest percentage of FDI. Further FDI statistics available at: http://dipp.nic.in/publications/fdi-statistics. Other Investment Policy Reviews 2019 OECD Economic Survey of India: http://www.oecd.org/economy/india-economic-snapshot/ 2015 WTO Trade Policy Review: https://docs.wto.org/dol2fe/Pages/FE_Search/FE_S_S009- DP.aspx?language=E&CatalogueIdList=131827,6391,16935,35446,11982&CurrentCatal ogueIdIndex=0&FullTextHash=&HasEnglishRecord=True&HasFrenchRecord=True&H asSpanishRecord=True 2015-2020 Government of India Foreign Trade Policy: http://dgft.gov.in/ForeignTradePolicy Business Facilitation DPIIT is responsible for formulation and implementation of promotional and developmental measures for growth of the industrial sector, keeping in view national priorities and socio- economic objectives. While individual lead ministries look after the production, distribution, development and planning aspects of specific industries allocated to them, DPIIT is responsible for the overall industrial policy. It is also responsible for facilitating and increasing the FDI flows to the country. Invest India is the official investment promotion and facilitation agency of the Government of India, which is managed in partnership with DPIIT, state governments, and business chambers. Invest India specialists work with investors through their investment lifecycle to provide support with market entry strategies, deep dive industry analysis, partner search, and policy advocacy as required. Businesses can register online through the Ministry of Corporate Affairs website: http://www.mca.gov.in/ . After the registration, all new investments require industrial approvals and clearances from relevant authorities, including regulatory bodies and local governments. To fast-track the approval process, especially in case of major projects, Prime Minister Modi has started the Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation (PRAGATI initiative) – a digital, multi-modal platform to speed the government’s approval process. Per the Prime Minister’s Office as of November 2019 a total of 265 project proposals worth around $169 billion related to 17 sectors were cleared through PRAGATI. Prime Minister Modi personally monitors the process, to ensure compliance in meeting PRAGATI project deadlines. In December 2014, the Modi government also approved the formation of an Inter-Ministerial Committee, led by the DPIIT, to help track investment proposals that require inter-ministerial approvals. Business and government sources report this committee meets informally and on an ad hoc basis as they receive reports from business chambers and affected companies of stalled projects. Outward Investment According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s central bank, the total overseas direct investment (ODI) outflow from India till December 2019 was $18.86 billion. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Indian direct investment into the U.S. was $9.9 billion in 2017. RBI contends that the growth in magnitude and spread (in terms of geography, nature and types of business activities) of ODI from India reflects the increasing appetite and capacity of Indian investors. 2. Bilateral Investment Agreements and Taxation Treaties India made public a new model Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) in December 2015. This followed a string of rulings against Indian firms in international arbitration. The new model BIT does not allow foreign investors to use investor-state dispute settlement methods, and instead requires foreign investors to first exhaust all local judicial and administrative remedies before entering into international arbitration. The Indian government also announced its intention to abrogate all BITs negotiated on the earlier model BIT. The government has served termination notices to roughly 58 countries, including EU countries and Australia. Currently 14 BITs are in force. The Ministry of Finance said the revised model BIT will be used for the renegotiation of existing and any future BITs and will form the investment chapter in any Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreements (CECAs)/Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPAs)/Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). In September 2018, Belarus became the first country to execute a new BIT with India. The Belarus – India BIT is predominantly based on the new Model BIT. In December 2018, Taipei Cultural & Economic Centre (TECC) in India signed a BIT with India Taipei Association (ITA) in Taipei. The TECC is the representative office of the government in Taipei in India and is responsible for promoting bilateral relations between Taiwan and India. By December 2019, two BITs/ JIS have been concluded but not yet signed with Brazil and Cambodia. Several BITs and joint interpretative statements are under discussion such as with Iran, Switzerland, Morocco, Kuwait, Ukraine, UAE, San Marino, Hong Kong, Israel, Mauritius and Oman. The complete list of agreements can be found at: https://dea.gov.in/bipa. Bilateral Taxation Treaties India has a bilateral taxation treaty with the United States, available at: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-trty/india.pdf 3. Legal Regime Transparency of the Regulatory System Some government policies are written in a way that can be discriminatory to foreign investors or favor domestic industry; for example, approval for higher FDI in the insurance sector came with a new requirement for “Indian management and control.” On most occasions the rules are framed after thorough discussions by the competent government authorities and require the approval of the cabinet and, in some cases, the Parliament as well. Policies pertaining to foreign investments are framed by DPIIT, and implementation is undertaken by lead federal ministries and sub-national counterparts. In December 2018, India unveiled new “Guidelines” on foreign-owned e-commerce operations that imposed restrictions disproportionately affecting over $20 billion in combined investments by U.S. companies. As of February 1, 2019, these platforms may not offer exclusive discounts; sell products from companies in which they own a stake; or have any vendor who sources more than 25 percent of their retail stock from a single source. The Guidelines were issued without prior notification or opportunity to provide public comments. While Indian officials argue this was a mere “clarification” of existing policy, the new Guidelines constituted a major regulatory change that severely affected U.S. investors’ operations and business models. The refusal of Indian authorities to extend the deadline for implementation beyond just over one month, further exacerbated the undue and unnecessary disruption to U.S. investors. The Indian Accounting Standards were issued under the supervision and control of the Accounting Standards Board, a committee under the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), and has government, academic, and professional representatives. The Indian Accounting Standards are named and numbered in the same way as the corresponding International Financial Reporting Standards. The National Advisory Committee on Accounting Standards recommends these standards to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, which all listed companies must then adopt. These can be accessed at: http://www.mca.gov.in/MinistryV2/Stand.html International Regulatory Considerations India is a member of the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), an eight- member regional block in South Asia. India’s regulatory systems are aligned with SAARC economic agreements, visa regimes, and investment rules. Dispute resolution in India has been through tribunals, which are quasi-judicial bodies. India has been a member of the WTO since 1994, and generally notifies all draft technical regulations to the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade; however, at times there are delays in publishing the notifications. The Governments of India and the United States cooperate in areas such as standards, trade facilitation, competition, and antidumping practices. Legal System and Judicial Independence India adopted its legal system from English law and the basic principles of the Common Law as applied in the UK are largely prevalent in India. However, foreign companies need to make adaptations per Indian Law and the Indian business culture when negotiating and drafting contracts in India to ensure adequate protection in case of breach of contract. The Indian Judicial Structure provides for an integrated system of courts to administer both central and state laws. The legal system has a pyramidal structure, with the Supreme Court at the apex, and a High Court in each state or a group of states which covers a hierarchy of subordinate courts. Article 141 of the Constitution of India provide that a decision declared by the Supreme Court shall be binding on all courts within the territory of India. Apart from courts, tribunals are also vested with judicial or quasi-judicial powers by special statutes to decide controversies or disputes relating to specified areas. Courts have maintained that the independence of the judiciary is a basic feature of the Constitution, which provides the judiciary institutional independence from the executive and legislative branches. Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment The government has a policy framework on FDI, which is updated every year and formally notified as the Consolidated FDI Policy (http://dipp.nic.in/foreign-direct-investment/foreign- direct-investment-policy). DPIIT makes policy pronouncements on FDI through Press Notes/Press Releases, which are notified by the RBI as amendments to the Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or Issue of Security by Persons Resident Outside India) Regulations, 2000 (Notification No. FEMA 20/2000-RB dated May 3, 2000). These notifications are effective on the date of the issued press release, unless otherwise specified. The judiciary does not influence FDI policy measures. The government has introduced a “Make in India” program as well as investment policies designed to promote manufacturing and attract foreign investment. “Digital India” aims to open up new avenues for the growth of the information technology sector. The “Start-up India” program created incentives to enable start-ups to commercialize and grow. The “Smart Cities” project intends to open up new avenues for industrial technological investment opportunities in select urban areas. The U.S. Government continues to urge the Government of India to foster an attractive and reliable investment climate by reducing barriers to investment and minimizing bureaucratic hurdles for businesses. Competition and Anti-Trust Laws The central government has been successful in establishing independent and effective regulators in telecommunications, banking, securities, insurance, and pensions. The Competition Commission of India (CCI), India’s antitrust body, is now taking cases against mergers, cartels, and abuse of dominance, as well as conducting capacity-building programs for bureaucrats and business officials. Mergers meeting certain thresholds must be notified to the CCI for its review. Upon receipt of a complaint, or upon its own enquiry, if the CCI is of the opinion that there exists a prima facie case, it must direct its investigative arm (the Director General) to investigate. Currently the Director General is required to seek the approval of the local chief metropolitan magistrate for any search and seizure operations. The Securities and Exchange Bureau of India (SEBI) enforces corporate governance standards and is well-regarded by foreign institutional investors. The RBI, which regulates the Indian banking sector, is also held in high regard. Some Indian regulators, including SEBI and the RBI, engage with industry stakeholders through periods of public comment, but the practice is not consistent across the government. Expropriation and Compensation The government has taken steps to provide greater clarity in regulation. In 2016, the government successfully carried out the largest spectrum auction in the country’s history. India also has transfer pricing rules that apply to related party transactions. The government implemented the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in July 2017, which reduced the complexity of tax codes and eliminated multiple taxation policies. It also enacted the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code in 2016, which offers uniform, comprehensive insolvency legislation for all companies, partnerships and individuals (other than financial firms). Though land is a State Government (sub-national) subject, “acquisition and requisitioning of property” is in the concurrent list, thus both the Indian Parliament and State Legislatures can make laws on this subject. Legislation approved by the Central Government is used as guidance by the State Governments. Land acquisition in India is governed by the Land Acquisition Act (2013), which entered into force in 2014, but continues to be a complicated process due to the lack of an effective legal framework. Land sales require adequate compensation, resettlement of displaced citizens, and 70% approval from landowners. The displacement of poorer citizens is politically challenging for local governments. Dispute Settlement India made resolving contract disputes and insolvency easier with the establishment of a modern bankruptcy regime with the enactment in 2016 and subsequent implementation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). Among the areas where India has improved the most in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Ranking the past three years has been under the resolving insolvency metric. The World Bank Report noted that the 2016 law has introduced the option of insolvency resolution for commercial entities as an alternative to liquidation or other mechanisms of debt enforcement, reshaping the way insolvent companies can restore their financial well-being or close down. The Code has put in place effective tools for creditors to successfully negotiate and effectuated greater chances for creditors to realize their dues. As a result, the overall recovery rate for creditors jumped from 26.5 to 71.6 cents on the dollar and the time taken for resolving insolvency also came down significantly from 4.3 years to 1.6 years. (https://www.ibbi.gov.in/uploads/publication/62a9cc46d6a96690e4c8a3c9ee3ab862.pdf India enacted the Arbitration and Conciliation Act in 1996, based on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law model, as an attempt to align its adjudication of commercial contract dispute resolution mechanisms with most of the world. Judgments of foreign courts are enforceable under multilateral conventions, including the Geneva Convention. The government established the International Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ICADR) as an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Law and Justice to promote the settlement of domestic and international disputes through alternate dispute resolution. The World Bank has also funded ICADR to conduct training for mediators in commercial dispute settlement. India is a signatory to the convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958 New York Convention). It is not unusual for Indian firms to file lawsuits in domestic courts in order to delay paying any arbitral award. Seven cases are currently pending, the oldest of which dates to 1983. India is not a member state to the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague and the Indian Law Ministry agreed in 2007 to establish a regional PCA office in New Delhi, although no progress has been made in establishing the office. The office would provide an arbitration forum to match the facilities offered at The Hague but at a lower cost. In November 2009, the Department of Revenue’s Central Board of Direct Taxes established eight dispute resolution panels across the country to settle the transfer-pricing tax disputes of domestic and foreign companies. In 2016 the government also presented amendments to the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act to establish specialized commercial divisions within domestic courts to settle long-pending commercial disputes. Investor–State Dispute Settlement According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, India has been a respondent state for 25 investment dispute settlement cases, of which 11 remain pending (http://investmentpolicyhub.unctad.org/ISDS/CountryCases/96?partyRole=2 ). Though India is not a signatory to the ICSID Convention, current claims by foreign investors against India can be pursued through the ICSID Additional Facility Rules, the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL Model Law) rules, or through the use of ad hoc proceedings. International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) Since formal dispute resolution is expensive and time consuming, many businesses choose methods, including ADR, for resolving disputes. The most commonly used ADRs are arbitration and mediation. India has enacted the Arbitration and Conciliation Act based on the UNCITRAL Model Laws of Arbitration. Experts agree that the ADR techniques are extra-judicial in character and emphasize that ADR cannot displace litigation. In cases that involve constitutional or criminal law, traditional litigation remains necessary. Dispute Resolutions Pending An increasing backlog of cases at all levels reflects the need for reform of the dispute resolution system, whose infrastructure is characterized by an inadequate number of courts, benches and judges, inordinate delays in filling judicial vacancies, and only 14 judges per one million people. Almost 25 percent of judicial vacancies can be attributed to procedural delays. Bankruptcy Regulations According to the World Bank, it used to take an average of 4.3 years to recover funds from an insolvent company in India, compared to 2.6 years in Pakistan, 1.7 years in China and 1.8 years in OECD countries. The introduction and implementation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) in 2016 led to an overhaul of the previous framework on insolvency and paved the way for much-needed reforms. The IBC focused on creditor-driven insolvency resolution, and offers a uniform, comprehensive insolvency legislation encompassing all companies, partnerships and individuals (other than financial firms). The law, however, does not provide for U.S. style Chapter 11 bankruptcy provisions. The government is proposing a separate framework for bankruptcy resolution in failing banks and financial sector entities. Supplementary legislation would create a new institutional framework, consisting of a regulator, insolvency professionals, information utilities, and adjudicatory mechanisms that would facilitate formal and time-bound insolvency resolution process and liquidation. In August 2016, the Indian Parliament passed amendments to the Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act, and the Debt Recovery Tribunals Act. These amendments were geared at improving the effectiveness of debt recovery laws and helping address the problem of rising bad loans for domestic and multilateral banks. It will also help banks and financial institutions recover loans more effectively, encourage the establishment of more asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) and revamp debt recovery tribunals. 4. Industrial Policies The regulatory environment in terms of foreign investment has been eased to make it investor- friendly. The measures taken by the Government are directed to open new sectors for foreign direct investment, increase the sectoral limit of existing sectors and simplifying other conditions of the FDI policy. The Indian government does issue guarantees to investments but only in case of strategic industries. Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation The government established several foreign trade zone initiatives to encourage export-oriented production. These include Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Export Processing Zones (EPZs), Software Technology Parks (STPs), and Export Oriented Units (EOUs). In 2018, the Indian government announced guidelines for the establishment of the National Industrial and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZs), envisaged as integrated industrial townships to be managed by a special purpose vehicle and headed by a government official. So far, three NIMZs have been accorded final approval and 13 have been accorded in-principle approval. In addition, eight investment regions along the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DIMC) have also been 12 established as NIMZs. SEZs are treated as foreign territory; businesses operating within SEZs are not subject to customs regulations, nor have FDI equity caps. They also receive exemptions from industrial licensing requirements and enjoy tax holidays and other tax breaks. EPZs are industrial parks with incentives for foreign investors in export-oriented businesses. STPs are special zones with similar incentives for software exports. EOUs are industrial companies, established anywhere in India, that export their entire production and are granted the following: duty-free import of intermediate goods, income tax holidays, exemption from excise tax on capital goods, components, and raw materials, and a waiver on sales taxes. These initiatives are governed by separate rules and granted different benefits, details of which can be found at: http://www.sezindia.nic.in, https://www.stpi.in/ http://www.fisme.org.in/export_schemes/DOCS/B- 1/EXPORT%20ORIENTED%20UNIT%20SCHEME.pdf and http://www.makeinindia.com/home. Performance and Data Localization Requirements Preferential Market Access (PMA) for government procurement has created substantial challenges for foreign firms operating in India. State-owned “Public Sector Undertakings” and the government accord a 20 percent price preference to vendors utilizing more than 50 percent local content. However, PMA for government procurement limits access to the most cost effective and advanced ICT products available. In December 2014, PMA guidelines were revised and reflect the following updates: Current guidelines emphasize that the promotion of domestic manufacturing is the objective of PMA, while the original premise focused on the linkages between equipment procurement and national security. Current guidelines on PMA implementation are limited to hardware procurement only. Former guidelines were applicable to both products and services. Current guidelines widen the pool of eligible PMA bidders, to include authorized distributors, sole selling agents, authorized dealers or authorized supply houses of the domestic manufacturers of electronic products, in addition to OEMs, provided they comply with the following terms: The bidder shall furnish the authorization certificate by the domestic manufacturer for selling domestically manufactured electronic products. The bidder shall furnish the affidavit of self-certification issued by the domestic manufacturer to the procuring agency declaring that the electronic product is domestically manufactured in terms of the domestic value addition prescribed. It shall be the responsibility of the bidder to furnish other requisite documents required to be issued by the domestic manufacturer to the procuring agency as per the policy. The current guidelines establish a ceiling on fees linked with the complaint procedure. There would be a complaint fee of INR 200,000 ($3000) or one percent of the value of the Domestically Manufactured Electronic Product being procured, subject to a maximum of INR 500,000 ($7500), whichever is higher. In January 2017, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) issued a draft notification under the PMA policy, stating a preference for domestically manufactured servers in government procurement. A current list of PMA guidelines, notified products, and tendering templates can be found on MeitY’s website: http://meity.gov.in/esdm/pma. Research and Development The Government of India allows for 100 percent FDI in research and development through the automatic route. Data Storage & Localization In April 2018, the RBI, announced, without prior stakeholder consultation, that all payment system providers must store their Indian transaction data only in India. The RBI mandate went into effect on October 15, 2018, despite repeated requests by industry and the U.S. officials for a delay to allow for more consultations. In July 2019, the RBI, again without prior stakeholder consultation, retroactively expanded the scope of its 2018 data localization requirement to include banks, creating potential liabilities going back to late 2018. The RBI policy overwhelmingly and disproportionately affects U.S. banks and investors, who depend on the free flow of data to both achieve economies of scale and to protect customers by providing global real-time monitoring and analysis of fraud trends and cybersecurity. U.S. payments companies have been able to implement the mandate for the most part, though at great cost and potential damage to the long-term security of their Indian customer base, which will receive fewer services and no longer benefit from global fraud detection and AML/CFT protocols. Similarly, U.S. banks have been able to comply with RBI’s expanded mandate, though incurring significant compliance costs and increased risk of cybersecurity vulnerabilities. In addition to the RBI data localization directive for payments companies and banks, the government formally introduced its draft Data Protection Bill in December 2019, which contains restrictions on all cross-border transfers of personal data in India. The Bill is currently under review by a Joint Parliamentary Committee and stipulates that personal data that is considered “critical” can only be stored in India. The Bill is based on the conclusions of a ten-person Committee of Experts, established by MeitY in July 2017. 5. Protection of Property Rights Real Property Several cities, including the metropolitan cities of Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai have grown according to a master plan registered with the central government’s Ministry of Urban Development. Property rights are generally well-enforced in such places, and district magistrates—normally senior local government officials—notify land and property registrations. Banks and financial institutions provide mortgages and liens against such registered property. In other urban areas, and in areas where illegal settlements have been built up, titling often remains unclear. As per the Department of Land Resources, in 2008 the government launched the National Land Records Modernization Program (NLRMP) to clarify land records and provide landholders with legal titles. The program requires the government to survey an area of the National Land Records Modernization Program (NLRMP) to clarify land records and provide landholders with legal titles. The program requires the government to survey an area of approximately 2.16 million square miles, including over 430 million rural households, 55 million urban households, and 430 million land records. Initially scheduled for completion in 2016, the program is now scheduled to conclude in 2021. Traditional land use rights, including communal rights to forests, pastures, and agricultural land, are sanctioned according to various laws, depending on the land category and community residing on it. Relevant legislation includes the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006, the Tribal Rights Act, and the Tribal Land Act. In 2016, India introduced its first regulator in the real estate sector in the form of the Real Estate Act. The Real Estate Act, 2016 aims to protect the rights and interests of consumers and promote uniformity and standardization of business practices and transactions in the real estate sector. Details are available at: http://mohua.gov.in/cms/TheRealEstateAct2016.php Foreign and domestic private entities are permitted to establish and own businesses in trading companies, subsidiaries, joint ventures, branch offices, project offices, and liaison offices, subject to certain sector-specific restrictions. The government does not permit foreign investment in real estate, other than company property used to conduct business and for the development of most types of new commercial and residential properties. Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) can now invest in initial public offerings (IPOs) of companies engaged in real estate. They can also participate in pre-IPO placements undertaken by such real estate companies without regard to FDI stipulations. To establish a business, various government approvals and clearances are required, including incorporation of the company and registration under the State Sales Tax Act and Central and State Excise Acts. Businesses that intend to build facilities on land they own are also required to take the following steps: register the land; seek land use permission if the industry is located outside an industrially zoned area; obtain environmental site approval; seek authorization for electricity and financing; and obtain appropriate approvals for construction plans from the respective state and municipal authorities. Promoters must also obtain industry-specific environmental approvals in compliance with the Water and Air Pollution Control Acts. Petrochemical complexes, petroleum refineries, thermal power plants, bulk drug makers, and manufacturers of fertilizers, dyes, and paper, among others, must obtain clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The Foreign Exchange Management Regulations and the Foreign Exchange Management Act set forth the rules that allow foreign entities to own immoveable property in India and convert foreign currencies for the purposes of investing in India. These regulations can be found at: https://www.rbi.org.in/scripts/Fema.aspx . Foreign investors operating under the automatic route are allowed the same rights as an Indian citizen for the purchase of immovable property in India in connection with an approved business activity. In India, a registered sales deed does not confer title ownership and is merely a record of the sales transaction. It only confers presumptive ownership, which can still be disputed. The title is established through a chain of historical transfer documents that originate from the land’s original established owner. Accordingly, before purchasing land, buyers should examine all documents that establish title from the original owner. Many owners, particularly in urban areas, do not have access to the necessary chain of documents. This increases uncertainty and risks in land transactions. Intellectual Property Rights In 2018, India became a signatory to the WIPO Centralized Access to Search and Examination (CASE) and Digital Access Service (DAS) agreements. The CASE system enables patent offices to securely share and search examination documentation related to patent applications, and DAS provides details of the types of applications managed by individual digital libraries together with any operational procedures and technical requirements. However, the provision of Indian law prescribing criminal penalties for failure to furnish information pertaining to applications for a patent for the “same or substantially the same invention” filed in any country outside India remains in place. Prime Minister Modi’s courtship of multinationals to invest and “Make in India” has not yet addressed longstanding hesitations over India’s lack of effective intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement. Despite the release of the National IPR Policy and the establishment of India’s first intellectual property (IP) crime unit in Telangana in 2016, India’s IP regime continues to fall short of global best practices and standards. U.S. engagement has not yet translated into the progress and/or actions on IPR that were anticipated under the previous U.S. administration. Some “Notorious Markets” across the country continue to operate, while many smaller stores sell or deal with pirated content across the country. U.S. and Indian Government officials continued to engage on IPR issues. U.S. government representatives continued to meet government officials and industry stakeholders on IPR-related matters in 2018 and 2019, including during visits to India by officials from the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the U.S. Patent Trademark Office (USPTO), the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, and the Departments of State, Commerce, and Agriculture. India has made efforts to streamline its IP framework through administrative actions and awareness programs and is in the process of reducing its decade-long backlog of patent and trademark applications. India also addresses IPR in its recently established Commercial Courts, Commercial Divisions, and Commercial Appellate Divisions within India’s High Courts. U.S. and Indian Government officials continued to engage on IPR issues. U.S. government representatives continued to meet government officials and industry stakeholders on IPR-related matters in 2018 and 2019, including during visits to India by officials from the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the U.S. Patent Trademark Office (USPTO), the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, and the Departments of State, Commerce, and Agriculture. India has made efforts to streamline its IP framework through administrative actions and awareness programs and is in the process of reducing its decade-long backlog of patent and trademark applications. India also addresses IPR in its recently established Commercial Courts, Commercial Divisions, and Commercial Appellate Divisions within India’s High Courts. Although India’s copyright laws were amended in 2012, the amendments have not been fully implemented. Without an active copyright board in place to determine royalty rates for authors, weak enforcement of copyright regulations, and the widespread issue of pirated copyrighted materials are all contributing factors to why copyright law requires more emphasis on implementation. The Delhi High Court diluted the publishing industry’s and authors’ rights and expanded the definition of fair use judgment, by allowing photocopiers to copy an entire book for educational purposes without seeking prior permission of the copyright holder. The movie industry identified new illegal cam cording hubs of operation in Indore and Noida, and the Telangana police cracked down on two syndicates that used under-age children to illegally record movies. After years of advocacy by industry groups, especially the Indian office of the Motion Picture Association (MPA), the GOI released a draft Cinematography Bill for comment in December 2018, which contained anti-cam cording legislation. Industry groups welcomed this move, which included criminal and financial penalties for offenders. The bill is now awaiting Parliamentary approval. However, the penalties for infringement and IP theft are significantly weakened from those suggested in the initial draft legislation in 2013. The music industry remains concerned about a Section 31D memorandum that the Department of Industry and Policy Promotion (DIPP), now DPIIT,-issued announced in September 2016 to announce that all online transmissions fall under the statutory licensing provisions of section 31D of the Copyright Act. The memo places internet service providers on par with radio broadcasters, allowing them to provide music on their websites by paying the same royalties to copyright societies, two percent of ad revenues. The industry argues that most of the websites have little to no ad revenue, and some may be hosted on servers outside India, which makes collection of royalties challenging. However, in February 2017, India issued a notice to all event organizers that they would have to pay music royalties to artists when played at an event. On a more positive note, in April 2019, the Bombay High Court issued its decision in Tips Industries LTD v. Wynk Music LTD (Airtel) that statutory licensing under section 31D of the Copyright Act does not cover Internet transmissions (streaming), but rather is limited to traditional television and radio broadcasts. The Court also stated that Section 31D was an exception to copyright and must be distinctly interpreted. It is not clear if this judgement will move the Government of India to withdraw DPIIT’s 2016 memo. However, in 2019, the DPIIT proposed amendments to the Copyright Rules that would, in contravention to the plain statutory text, broaden the scope of the statutory licensing exception to encompass not only radio and television broadcasting, but also Internet broadcasting. 2018 was a year of great difficulty in the agriculture and biotechnology space, which has been reeling from the aftermath of a coordinated attack in 2016 and 2017 on the Monsanto Corporation’s India operations (reported in our 2016 and 2017 Special 301 submissions). In 2017, the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Act (PPVFRA) removed the long-standing requirement for breeders to produce a “No-Objection-Certificate” from the patentee of a particular genetically modified (GM) trait. The move was nearly unprecedented and removed a key preemptive tool for breeders to diligently ensure stakeholders are consulted and patentee’s innovations are not being infringed upon or used without permission. In April 2018, the Delhi High Court judgment struck down a patent held by Monsanto in a summary judgment. In a series of decisions on this matter, most recently in August, 2019, the Supreme Court overturned Delhi High Court Divisional Bench judgement of April 2018 and reinstated the March 2017 Single Judge decision, pointing to the Divisional Bench failing to have confined itself to the examination of the validity of the order of injunction granted by the Single Judge 2017 decision. Issues remain complex and unsettled. The GM Licensing Guidelines remain in draft form but could have significant and wide-ranging implications for Monsanto and many other IP holders. Moreover, follow-on decisions and administrative legal actions could set important Indian legal precedents for stopping a patent, the role of the PVPFRA and its relationship to biological innovation, the application of administrative regulations regarding price and term of a patent, and the interplay between the Patents Act, PVPFRA, and the Biodiversity Act. It is worth noting that in December 2015, Monsanto terminated more than 40 of its license agreements with Indian companies for nonpayment of licensing fees. The Indian licensees subsequently challenged Monsanto’s patents in court on several grounds, including challenging the validity of the patent and efficacy of the technology. The Government of India’s refusal to repudiate Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare’s GM licensing guidelines has already resulted in withdrawal of next-generation innovative biotechnology from the Indian marketplace and has given pause to many other companies who seek to protect their innovative products. Other biotech-led industries are also following this development and are greatly concerned, as the action reaches beyond compulsory licensing under the Patents Act. Indian law still does not provide any statutory protection for trade secrets. After a workshop conducted in October 2016, DIPP agreed to provide guidance to start-ups on trade secrets. The Designs Act allows for the registration of industrial designs and affords a 15-year term of protection. Other long-standing concerns remain. Since 2012, outstanding concerns that have not been addressed either in the IP Policy or by Government of India include; Section 3(d) of India’s Patent Act, which creates confusing criteria on “enhanced efficacy” for the patentability of pharmaceutical products; draft biotechnology licensing regulations from the Ministry of Agriculture which are mandatory, overly prescriptive, and severely limit the value of IPR; remaining lack of clarity on the conditions under which compulsory licensing may be allowed; lack of a copyright board; lack of a trade secrets law; lack of data exclusivity legislation; lack of an early dispute resolution mechanism for patents ; lack of a legislative framework facilitating public-private partnership in government-funded research (along the lines of Bayh-Dole in the United States); weak IP enforcement; and overall unwillingness to make IPR a priority within the Indian government. All these measures across various sectors create uncertainty at best, and at worst perceptions of a hostile business environment. In addition, the Patent Act requires patentees to regularly report on a commercial scale “the working” of their patents. This is implemented by filing a required annual form called Form 27 on patent working. The current requirement to file Form 27 is not only onerous and costly for patentees and ill-suited to the reality of patented technology, it also hinders any incentives to invent and advance innovation. Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) and fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing criteria and systems are another concerning area. Discussions on FRAND licensing terms restarted in 2019 but did not include stakeholders. Several cases are pending before the Delhi High Court surrounding the issue of royalty payments for standard essential patents. While initial indications from Delhi High Court proceedings are encouraging, a 2016 GOI discussion paper on SEPs raised concerns related to active government involvement in setting standards and determining FRAND royalties. Some decisions from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) have been inconsistent with the Delhi High Court, creating confusion related to the development of SEP policy and practices in India. Another area of concern is the global blocking order against “Intermediaries”. A Delhi High Court judge issued an interim injunction directing Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other “intermediaries” to remove – on a global basis – content uploaded to their platforms allegedly defaming the guru Baba Ramdev. The judgment moved beyond traditional “geo-blocking,” in which take down orders are limited to specific geographic regions. Facebook has challenged the judgment before a Division Bench. In 2019, we observed that public notice and comment procedures on policy – including on IPR related issues – were often not followed. Stakeholders were not properly notified of meetings with agencies to discuss concerns, including for changes to critical issues like price controls on medical devices or changes to key policies. Moreover, Mission India remains concerned that when stakeholder input is solicited, it is often disregarded and/or ignored during the final determination of a policy. India actively engages at multilateral negotiations, including the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Council. As a result, in April 2017, the MOHFW issued a notification that amended the manufacturing license form (Form 44), taking out any requirement to notify the regulator if the drug, for which manufacturing approval was being sought, is under patent or not. The GOI cited their view that Form 44 provisions were outside the scope of their WTO TRIPS agreement commitments as justification for the change. Industry contracts point to the clear benefit this change has delivered to the Indian generic pharmaceutical industry, which now has an even easier path to manufacture patented drugs for years, while IP holders are forced to discover the violation and challenge the infringement in separate courts. These negotiations will have an impact on innovation, trade, and investment in IP-intensive products and services. Developments Strengthening the Rights of IP Holders Clarification of Patentability Criteria: the Delhi High Court added clarity on the matter of the patentability criterion under Section 3(k) of the India Patents Act, ruling in Ferid Allani vs UOI & Ors that there is no absolute bar on the patentability of computer programs. Additionally, ‘technical effect’ or ‘technical contribution’ must be taken into consideration during examination when determining the patent eligibility of a computer program. Bombay High Court Clarifies 31(D) of the Copyright Act: Ruling on “Tips Industries vs. Wynk Music,” the Bombay High Court stated that the extension of the Copyright Act, 2016’s Section 31(D) to the internet is flawed logic and unsound in law. The court also noted that Section 31(D) is an exception to copyright and must be strictly interpreted. It is to be seen if this judgement helps Government of India in withdrawing of DPIIT memo of 2016. Delhi High Court Confronts Online Piracy: The Delhi High Court decided that approved site take down requests will apply to those sites with addresses specifically listed in the request as well as similar sites that operate under different addresses. This “dynamic injunction” is meant to eliminate the need for complainants to approach courts with new requests should a banned site reappear under a new address. The Delhi High Court in July 2019 took steps to address the “gridlock” of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB). IPAB was established in 2003 to adjudicate appeals over patents, trademarks, copyrights, and other decisions, but lacked the necessary number of technical members to form a quorum and make judgements, resulting in a significant backlog. To clear the backlog of cases, the court decided that until the appointments were filled, the chairman and available technical members could issue decisions despite lacking a quorum. If no technical members were available, the IPAB chairman could consult a scientific advisor from the panel of scientific advisors appointed under Section 115 of the 1970 Patents Act. Additionally, in October 2019, the court permitted the current IPAB chairman to serve past his term – which ended in September 2019, reinstating him until a replacement takes over. 6. Financial Sector Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment Total market capitalization of the Indian equity market stood around $2.2 trillion as of December 31, 2019. The benchmark Standard and Poor’s (S&P) BSE (erstwhile Bombay Stock Exchange) Sensex recorded gains of about 14 percent in 2019. Nonetheless, Indian equity markets were tumultuous throughout 2019. The BSE Sensex generally gained from the beginning of the year until July 5, when Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced a tax increase on foreign portfolio investment in her post-election Union Budget for the remainder for FY 2020. The Sensex declined, erasing all previous gains for the year as the new tax led to a rapid exodus of foreign portfolio investors from the market. The market continued to fluctuate even after the tax increase was repealed on August 23 until September 20, when the Finance Minister made a surprise announcement to slash corporate tax rates. After that, the Sensex surged and hit a record high of 41,854 on December 20. However, even as the benchmark Sensex hit record highs, the midcap and small cap indices disappointed investors with a year of negative returns. The Sensex’s advance was driven by a handful of stocks; two in particular Reliance Industries Ltd. and ICICI Bank Ltd. accounted for about half the gain. Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs), pumped a net of over $14 billion into India’s equity markets in 2019, making it their highest such infusion in six years. In 2018, FPIs pulled out $ 4.64 billion from the market. Domestic money also continued to flow into equity markets via systematic investment plans (SIP) of mutual funds. SIP assets under management hit an all-time high of $43.94 billion in November, according to data from the Association of Mutual Funds of India. Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs), pumped a net of over $14 billion into India’s equity markets in 2019, making it their highest such infusion in six years. In 2018, FPIs pulled out $ 4.64 billion from the market. Domestic money also continued to flow into equity markets via systematic investment plans (SIP) of mutual funds. SIP assets under management hit an all-time high of $43.94 billion in November, according to data from the Association of Mutual Funds of India. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is considered one of the most progressive and well-run of India’s regulatory bodies. It regulates India’s securities markets, including enforcement activities, and is India’s direct counterpart to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). SEBI oversees three national exchanges: the BSE Ltd. (formerly the Bombay Stock Exchange), the National Stock Exchange (NSE), and the Metropolitan Stock Exchange. SEBI also regulates the three national commodity exchanges: the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX), the National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Limited, and the National Multi-Commodity Exchange. Foreign venture capital investors (FVCIs) must register with SEBI to invest in Indian firms. They can also set up domestic asset management companies to manage funds. All such investments are allowed under the automatic route, subject to SEBI and RBI regulations, and to FDI policy. FVCIs can invest in many sectors, including software, information technology, pharmaceuticals and drugs, biotechnology, nanotechnology, biofuels, agriculture, and infrastructure. Companies incorporated outside India can raise capital in India’s capital markets through the issuance of Indian Depository Receipts (IDRs) based on SEBI guidelines. Standard Chartered Bank, a British bank which was the first foreign entity to list in India in June 2010, remains the only foreign firm to have issued IDRs. Companies incorporated outside India can raise capital in India’s capital markets through the issuance of Indian Depository Receipts (IDRs) based on SEBI guidelines. Standard Chartered Bank, a British bank which was the first foreign entity to list in India in June 2010, remains the only foreign firm to have issued IDRs. External commercial borrowing (ECB), or direct lending to Indian entities by foreign institutions, is allowed if it conforms to parameters such as minimum maturity, permitted and non-permitted end-uses, maximum all-in-cost ceiling as prescribed by the RBI, funds are used for outward FDI, or for domestic investment in industry, infrastructure, hotels, hospitals, software, self-help groups or microfinance activities, or to buy shares in the disinvestment of public sector entities: https://www.rbi.org.in/scripts/BS_PressReleaseDisplay.aspx?prid=47736. Total external commercial borrowings through both the approval and automatic route increased 61.45 percent year-on-year to $50.15 billion as of December 2019, according to the Reserve Bank of India’s data. The RBI has taken a number of steps in the past few years to bring the activities of the offshore Indian rupee market in Non Deliverable Forwards (NDF) onshore, in order to deepen domestic markets, enhance downstream benefits, and generally obviate the need for an NDF market. FPIs with access to currency futures or the exchange-traded currency options market can hedge onshore currency risks in India and may directly trade in corporate bonds. In October 2019, the RBI allowed banks to freely offer foreign exchange quotes to non-resident Indians at all times and said trading on rupee derivatives would be allowed and settled in foreign currencies in the International Financial Services Centers (IFSCs). This was based on the recommendations of the task force on offshore rupee markets to examine and recommend appropriate policy measures to ensure the stability of the external value of the Rupee (https://m.rbi.org.in/Scripts/PublicationReportDetails.aspx?UrlPage=&ID=937). The International Financial Services Centre at Gujarat International Financial Tec-City (GIFT City) in Gujarat is being developed to compete with global financial hubs. The BSE was the first to start operations there, in January 2016. The NSE and domestic banks including Yes Bank, Federal Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, IDBI Bank, State Bank of India, and IndusInd Bank have started IFSC banking units in GIFT city. Standard Chartered Bank and Bank of America started operations in GIFT City in 2019. The International Financial Services Centre at Gujarat International Financial Tec-City (GIFT City) in Gujarat is being developed to compete with global financial hubs. The BSE was the first to start operations there, in January 2016. The NSE and domestic banks including Yes Bank, Federal Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, IDBI Bank, State Bank of India, and IndusInd Bank have started IFSC banking units in GIFT city. Standard Chartered Bank and Bank of America started operations in GIFT City in 2019. Money and Banking System The public sector remains predominant in the banking sector, with public sector banks (PSBs) accounting for about 66 percent of total banking sector assets. Although most large PSBs are listed on exchanges, the government’s stakes in these banks often exceeds the 51 percent legal minimum. Aside from the large number of state-owned banks, directed lending and mandatory holdings of government paper are key facets of the banking sector. The RBI requires commercial banks and foreign banks with more than 20 branches to allocate 40 percent of their loans to priority sectors which include agriculture, small and medium enterprises, export-oriented companies, and social infrastructure. Additionally, all banks are required to invest 18.25 percent of their net demand and time liabilities in government securities. The RBI plans to reduce this by 25 basis points every quarter until the investment requirement reaches 18 percent of their net demand and time liabilities. PSBs currently face two significant hurdles: capital constraints and poor asset quality. As of September 2019, gross non-performing loans represented 9.3 percent of total loans in the banking system, with the public sector banks having an even larger share at 12.7 percent of their loan portfolio. The PSBs’ asset quality deterioration in recent years is driven by their exposure to a broad range of industrial sectors including infrastructure, metals and mining, textiles, and aviation. With the new bankruptcy law (IBC) in place, banks are making progress in non-performing asset recognition and resolution. As of December 2019, the resolution processes have been approved in 190 cases Lengthy legal challenges have posed the greatest obstacle, as time spent on litigation was not counted against the 270 day deadline. In July 2019, Parliament amended the IBC to require final resolution within 330 days including litigation time. To address asset quality challenges faced by public sector banks, the government injected $30 billion into public sector banks in recent years. The capitalization largely aimed to address the capital inadequacy of public sector banks and marginally provide for growth capital. Following the recapitalization, public sector banks’ total capital adequacy ratio (CRAR) improved to 13.5 percent in September 2019 from 12.2 in March 2019. In 2019, the Indian authorities also announced a consolidation plan entailing a merger of 10 public sector banks into 4, thereby reducing the total number of public sector banks from 18 to 12. Women in the Financial Sector Women in India receive a smaller portion of financial support relative to men, especially in rural and semi-urban areas. In 2015, the Modi government started the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency Ltd. (MUDRA), which supports the development of micro-enterprises. The initiative encourages women’s participation and offers collateral-free loans of around $15,000. The Acting Finance Minister Piyush Goyal while delivering the 2019 budget speech mentioned that 70 percent of the beneficiaries of MUDRA initiative are women. Under the MUDRA initiative, 155.6 million loans have been disbursed amounting to $103 billion. Following the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2017, government agency the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI Aayog), launched a Women’s Entrepreneurship Platform, https://wep.gov.in/, a single window information hub which provides information on a range of issues including access to finance, marketing, existing government programs, incubators, public and private initiatives, and mentoring. About 5,000 members are currently registered and using the services of the portal said a NITI Aayog officer who has an oversight of the project. Foreign Exchange and Remittances Foreign Exchange The RBI, under the Liberalized Remittance Scheme, allows individuals to remit up to $250,000 per fiscal year (April-March) out of the country for permitted current account transactions (private visit, gift/donation, going abroad on employment, emigration, maintenance of close relatives abroad, business trip, medical treatment abroad, studies abroad) and certain capital account transactions (opening of foreign currency account abroad with a bank, purchase of property abroad, making investments abroad, setting up Wholly Owned Subsidiaries and Joint Ventures outside of India, extending loans). The INR is fully convertible only in current account transactions, as regulated under the Foreign Exchange Management Act regulations of 2000 (https://www.rbi.org.in/Scripts/Fema.aspx ). Foreign exchange withdrawal is prohibited for remittance of lottery winnings; income from racing, riding or any other hobby; purchase of lottery tickets, banned or proscribed magazines; football pools and sweepstakes; payment of commission on exports made towards equity investment in Joint Ventures or Wholly Owned Subsidiaries of Indian companies abroad; and remittance of interest income on funds held in a Non-Resident Special Rupee Scheme Account (https://www.rbi.org.in/Scripts/BS_ViewMasDirections.aspx?id=10193#sdi ). Furthermore, the following transactions require the approval of the Central Government: cultural tours; remittance of hiring charges for transponders for television channels under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and Internet Service Providers under the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology; remittance of prize money and sponsorship of sports activity abroad if the amount involved exceeds $100,000; advertisement in foreign print media for purposes other than promotion of tourism, foreign investments and international bidding (over $10,000) by a state government and its public sector undertakings (PSUs); and multi-modal transport operators paying remittances to their agents abroad. RBI approval is required for acquiring foreign currency above certain limits for specific purposes including remittances for: maintenance of close relatives abroad; any consultancy services; funds exceeding 5 percent of investment brought into India or USD $100,000, whichever is higher, by an entity in India by way of reimbursement of pre-incorporation expenses. Capital account transactions are open to foreign investors, though subject to various clearances. NRI investment in real estate, remittance of proceeds from the sale of assets, and remittance of proceeds from the sale of shares may be subject to approval by the RBI or FIPB. FIIs may transfer funds from INR to foreign currency accounts and back at market exchange rates. They may also repatriate capital, capital gains, dividends, interest income, and compensation from the sale of rights offerings without RBI approval. The RBI also authorizes automatic approval to Indian industry for payments associated with foreign collaboration agreements, royalties, and lump sum fees for technology transfer, and payments for the use of trademarks and brand names. Royalties and lump sum payments are taxed at 10 percent. The RBI has periodically released guidelines to all banks, financial institutions, NBFCs, and payment system providers regarding Know Your Customer (KYC) and reporting requirements under Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)/Common Reporting Standards (CRS). The government’s July 7, 2015 notification (https://rbidocs.rbi.org.in/rdocs/content/pdfs/CKYCR2611215_AN.pdf ) amended the Prevention of Money Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005, (Rules), for setting up of the Central KYC Records Registry (CKYCR)—a registry to receive, store, safeguard and retrieve the KYC records in digital form of clients. Remittance Policies Remittances are permitted on all investments and profits earned by foreign companies in India once taxes have been paid. Nonetheless, certain sectors are subject to special conditions, including construction, development projects, and defense, wherein the foreign investment is subject to a lock-in period. Profits and dividend remittances as current account transactions are permitted without RBI approval following payment of a dividend distribution tax. Foreign banks may remit profits and surpluses to their headquarters, subject to compliance with the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. Banks are permitted to offer foreign currency-INR swaps without limits for the purpose of hedging customers’ foreign currency liabilities. They may also offer forward coverage to non-resident entities on FDI deployed since 1993. Sovereign Wealth Funds The FY 2016 the Indian government established the National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), touted as India’s first sovereign wealth fund to promote investments in the infrastructure sector. The government agreed to contribute $3 billion to the fund, while an additional $3 billion will be raised from the private sector primarily from sovereign wealth funds, multilateral agencies, endowment funds, pension funds, insurers, and foreign central banks. So far, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Australian Super, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Temasek, Axis Bank, HDFC Group, ICICI Bank and Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance have committed investments into the NIIF Master Fund, alongside Government of India. NIIF Master Fund now has $2.1 billion in commitments with a focus on core infrastructure sectors including transportation, energy and urban infrastructure. 7. State-Owned Enterprises The government owns or controls interests in key sectors with significant economic impact, including infrastructure, oil, gas, mining, and manufacturing. The Department of Public Enterprises (http://dpe.gov.in ), controls and formulates all the policies pertaining to SOEs, and is headed by a minister to whom the senior management reports. The Comptroller and Auditor General audits the SOEs. The government has taken a number of steps to improve the performance of SOEs, also called the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs), including improvements to corporate governance. Reforms carried out in the 1990s focused on liberalization and deregulation of most sectors and disinvestment of government shares. These and other steps to strengthen CPSE boards and enhance transparency evolved into a more comprehensive governance approach, culminating in the Guidelines on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises issued in 2007 and their mandatory implementation beginning in 2010. Governance reforms gained prominence for several reasons: the important role that CPSEs continue to play in the Indian economy; increased pressure on CPSEs to improve their competitiveness as a result of exposure to competition and hard budget constraints; and new listings of CPSEs on capital markets. According to the Public Enterprise Survey 2018-19 as of March 2019 there were 348 central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) with a total investment of $234 billion, of which 248 are operating CPSEs. The report puts the number of profit-making CPSEs at 178, while 70 CPSEs were incurring losses. The government tried to unsuccessfully privatize the state-run loss- incurring airline Air India. Foreign investments are allowed in the CPSEs in all sectors. The Master List of CPSEs can be accessed at http://www.bsepsu.com/list-cpse.asp. While the CPSEs face the same tax burden as the private sector, on issues like procurement of land they receive streamlined licensing that private sector enterprises do not. Privatization Program Despite the financial upside to disinvestment in loss-making state-owned enterprises (SOEs), the government has not generally privatized its assets as they have led to job losses in the past, and therefore engender political risks. Instead, the government has adopted a gradual disinvestment policy that dilutes government stakes in public enterprises without sacrificing control. Such disinvestment has been undertaken both as fiscal support and as a means of improving the efficiency of SOEs. In recent years, however the government has begun to look to disinvestment proceeds as a major source of revenue to finance its fiscal deficit. For the first time in seven years, the government met its disinvestment target in fiscal year 2017-18, generating $15.38 billion against a target of $11.15 billion. For FY 2020, the government increased the disinvestment target of $12.3 billion but managed to generate only $2.5 billion till December 2019 The Government of India’s plan to sell state-owned carrier Air India could not happen in FY 2020. The Indian Government constituted inter-ministerial panel recommended 100 percent stake sale in Air India to make it more lucrative as against a 76 percent stake sale last year. Government did say that they have received some good bids, but the process might go to a back burner because of the COVID19 pandemic and its resulting impact on the economy. Foreign institutional investors can participate in these disinvestment programs subject to these limits: 24 percent of the paid-up capital of the Indian company and 10 percent for non-resident Indians and persons of Indian origin. The limit is 20 percent of the paid-up capital in the case of public sector banks. There is no bidding process. The shares of the SOEs being disinvested are sold in the open market. Detailed policy procedures relating to disinvestment in India can be accessed at: https://dipam.gov.in/disinvestment-policy 8. Responsible Business Conduct Among Indian companies there is a general awareness of standards for responsible business conduct. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) administers the Companies Act of 2013 and is responsible for regulating the corporate sector in accordance with the law. The MCA is also responsible for protecting the interests of consumers by ensuring competitive markets. The Companies Act of 2013 also established the framework for India’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) laws. While the CSR obligations are mandated by law, non-government organizations (NGOs) in India also track CSR activities provide recommendations in some cases for effective use of CSR funds. MCA released the National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct, 2018 (NGRBC) on March 13, 2019 (an improvement over the existing National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environmental & Economic Responsibilities of Business, 2011), as a means to nudge businesses to contribute towards wider development goals while seeking to maximize their profits. The NGRBC is dovetailed with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights (UNGPs). A CRISIL study reported that cumulative spending on CSR since it was mandated is more than $ 7 billion (Rs.50,000 crores) including $ 4.85 billion (Rs. 34,000 crores) by listed companies and nearly $ 2.7 billion (Rs.19,000 crores) by unlisted ones. The study further noted that overall, 1,913 companies met the government’s eligibility criteria but 667 of them could not spend for various reasons. About 153 companies spent 3 percent or more as against the mandated 2 percent of profits. In terms of spending, energy companies were front runners to spend $ 322 million (Rs. 2,253 crore) or 23 percent of the overall spending followed by manufacturing, financial services and information technology services. The preferred spending heads were education, skill development, healthcare, and sanitation and preferred areas being National Capital region, Karnataka and Maharashtra. The study however noted that there could be shrink both in terms of number of companies and their total spend after the Companies (Amendment) Act 2017 where the eligibility criteria is now based on financials of the “immediately preceding financial year” rather than the earlier stipulation of “any three preceding “immediately preceding financial year” rather than the earlier stipulation of “any three preceding financial years.” India does not adhere to the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Afflicted and High-Risk Areas. There are provisions to promote responsible business conduct throughout the supply chain. India is not a member of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) nor is it a member of Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. 9. Corruption India is a signatory to the United Nation’s Conventions Against Corruption and is a member of the G20 Working Group against corruption. India showed marginal improvement and scored 41 out of 100 in Transparency International’s 2018 Corruption Perception Index, with a ranking of 78 out of the 180 countries surveyed (as compared to a score of 40 out of 100 and ranked 81 in 2017). Corruption is addressed by the following laws: the Companies Act, 2013; the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002; the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988; the Code of Criminal Procedures, 1973; the Indian Contract Act, 1872; and the Indian Penal Code of 1860. Anti- corruption laws amended since 2004 have granted additional powers to vigilance departments in government ministries at the central and state levels. The amendments also elevated the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to be a statutory body. In addition, the Comptroller and Auditor General is charged with performing audits on public-private-partnership contracts in the infrastructure sector on the basis of allegations of revenue loss to the exchequer. In November 2016, the Modi government ordered that INR 1000 and 500 notes, comprising approximately 86 percent of cash in circulation, be demonetized to curb “black money,” corruption, and the financing of terrorism. An August 2018 RBI report stated 99 percent of demonetized cash was deposited in legitimate bank accounts, leading analysts to question if the exercise enabled criminals to launder money into the banking system. Digital transactions increased due to demonetization, as mobile banking inclusion jumped from 40 percent to 60 percent of the populace. India is investigating 1.8 million bank accounts and 200 individuals associated with unusual deposits during demonetization, and banks’ suspicious transaction reports quadrupled to 473,000 in 2016. On August 7, SEBI directed stock exchanges to restrict trading and audit 162 suspected shell companies on the basis of large cash deposits during demonetization. The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act of 2016 entered into effect in November 2016, and strengthened the legal and administrative procedures of the Benami Transactions Act 1988, which was ultimately never notified. (Note: A benami property is held by one person, but paid for by another, often with illicit funds.) Analysts expect the government to issue a roadmap in 2017-2018 to begin implementing the Act. In May 2017, the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 came into effect. The Act will regulate India’s real estate sector, which is notorious for its corruption and lack of transparency. In November 2016, India and Switzerland signed a joint declaration to enter into an Agreement on the Exchange of Information (AEOI) to automatically share financial information on accounts held by Indian residents, beginning in 2018. India also amended its Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement with Singapore, Cyprus, and Mauritius in 2016 to prevent income tax evasion. The move follows the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, which replaced the Income Tax (IT) Act of 1961 regarding the taxation of foreign income. The new Act penalizes the concealment of foreign income, as well as provides criminal liability for foreign income tax evasion. In February 2014, the government enacted the Whistleblower Act, intended to protect anti- corruption activists, but it has yet to be implemented. Experts believe that the prosecution of corruption has been effective only among the lower levels of the bureaucracy; senior bureaucrats have generally been spared. Businesses consistently cite corruption as a significant obstacle to FDI in India and identify government procurement as a process particularly vulnerable to corruption. To make the Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2014 more effective, the government proposed an amendment bill in 2015. This bill is still pending with the Upper House of Parliament; however anti-corruption activists have expressed concern that the bill will dilute the Act by creating exemptions for state authorities, allowing them to stay out of reach of whistleblowers. The Companies Act of 2013 established rules related to corruption in the private sector by mandating mechanisms for the protection of whistle blowers, industry codes of conduct, and the appointment of independent directors to company boards. As yet, the government has established no monitoring mechanism, and it is unclear the extent to which these protections have been instituted. No legislation focuses particularly on the protection of NGOs working on corruption issues, though the Whistleblowers Protection Act, 2011, may afford some protection once it has been fully implemented. In 2013, Parliament enacted the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013, which created a national anti- corruption ombudsman and requires states to create state-level ombudsmen within one year of the law’s passage. Till December 2018, the government had not appointed an ombudsman. (Note: An ombudsman was finally appointed in March 2019.) UN Anticorruption Convention, OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery India is a signatory to the United Nations Conventions against Corruption and is a member of the G20 Working Group against Corruption. India is not party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. Resources to Report Corruption Matt Ingeneri Economic Growth Unit Chief U.S. Embassy New Delhi Shantipath, Chanakyapuri New Delhi +91 11 2419 8000 email@example.com Ashutosh Kumar Mishra Executive Director Transparency International, India Lajpat Bhawan, Room no.4 Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi – 110024 +91 11 2646 0826 firstname.lastname@example.org 10. Political and Security Environment Prime Minister Modi’s BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government won a decisive mandate in the May 2019 elections, winning a larger majority in the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) than in 2014. The new government’s first 100 days of its second term were marked by the removal of special constitutional status from the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) The government’s decision to remove J&K autonomy was preceded by a heavy paramilitary build-up in the State, arrests of local opposition leaders, and cutting of mobile phone and Internet services. Internet connections have since been largely opened, but with continued severe limitations on data download speeds to the extent that everyday activities of Kashmiris often take hours or need to be completed outside the region. A number of areas of India suffered from terrorist attacks by separatists, including Jammu and Kashmir and some states in India’s northeast. In December 2019, the government passed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which promises fast-tracked citizenship to applicants from six minority religious groups from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, but does not offer a similar privilege to Muslims from these countries. The new law sparked widespread protests that sometimes-included violence by demonstrators, government supporters, and security services. Travelers to India are invited to visit the U.S. Department of State travel advisory website at: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/india.html for the latest information and travel resources. 11. Labor Policies and Practices Although there are more than 20 million unionized workers in India, unions still represent less than 5 percent of the total work force. Most of these unions are linked to political parties. Unions are typically strong in state-owned enterprises. A majority of the unionized work force can be found in the railroads, port & dock, banking and insurance sectors. According to provisional figures form the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE), over 1.74 million workdays were lost to strikes and lockouts during 2018. Labor unrest occurs throughout India, though the reasons and affected sectors vary widely. A majority of the labor problems are the result of workplace disagreements over pay, working conditions, and union representation. India’s labor regulations are very stringent and complex, and over time have limited the growth of the formal manufacturing sector. In an effort to reduce the number of labor related statutes, the Indian parliament passed the Code on Wages legislation in 2019. This Code combines four previously existing statutes- The Payment of Wages Act, the Minimum Wages Act, the Payment of Bonus Act, and the Equal Renumeration Act- into one code to simplify compliance procedures for employers. Minimum industrial wages vary by state, ranging from about $2.20 per day for unskilled laborers to over $9.30 per day for skilled production workers. Retrenchment, closure, and layoffs are governed by the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947, which requires prior government permission to lay off workers or close businesses employing more than 100 people, although some states including Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra have increased the threshold to 300 people. RBI approval is also required for foreign banks to close branches. Permission is generally difficult to obtain, which has resulted in the increasing use of contract workers (i.e. non- permanent employees) to circumvent the law. Private firms successfully downsize through voluntary retirement schemes. Since the current government assumed office in 2014, much of the movement on labor laws has taken place at the state level, particularly in Rajasthan, where the government has passed major amendments to allow for quicker hiring, firing, laying off, and shutting down of businesses. The Ministry of Labor and Employment launched a web portal in 2014 to assist companies in filing a single online report on compliance with 16 labor-related laws. The government has also drafted a Code on Industrial Relations that is currently being reviewed by a parliamentary committee. India’s major labor unions have opposed labor reforms, arguing that they compromise workers’ safety and job security. In March 2017, the Maternity Benefits Act was amended to increase the paid maternity leave for women from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. The amendment also makes it mandatory for all industrial establishments employing 50 or more workers to have a creche for babies to enable nursing mothers to feed the child up to 4 times in a day. In August 2016, the Child Labor Act was amended establishing a minimum age of 14 years for work and 18 years as the minimum age for hazardous work. In December 2016, the government promulgated legislation enabling employers to pay worker salaries through checks or e-payment in addition to the prevailing practice of cash payment. There are no reliable unemployment statistics for India due to the informal nature of most employment. A 2019 report from India’s National Statistics Commission claimed that the official unemployment rate in India rose to 6.1 percent in 2018, a 45-year high. In contrast, the unemployment rate was only 2.2 percent the last time when the commission conducted this survey in 2012. The government acknowledges a shortage of skilled labor in high-growth sectors of the economy, including information technology and manufacturing. The current government has established a Ministry of Skill Development and has embarked on a national program to increase skilled labor. 13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data: BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) 2019 $2.92 trillion 2018 $2.791 trillion https://data.worldbank.org/ country/india Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data: BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other U.S. FDI in partner country (stock positions) 2019 $28.34*billion 2019 $45.9 billion https://www.bea.gov/international/ direct-investment-and-multinational- enterprises-comprehensive-data Host country’s FDI in the United States (stock positions) 2015 $9.2*billion 2018 $5.0 billion https://www.bea.gov/international/ direct-investment-and-multinational- enterprises-comprehensive-data Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A 2019 15.1% https://unctad.org/en/Pages/DIAE/ World%20Investment%20Report/ Country-Fact-Sheets.aspx *The Indian government source for GDP is: https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/economicsurvey/doc/Statistical-Appendix-in-English.pdf The Indian government source for FDI statistics is: http://dipp.nic.in/publications/fdi-statistics and the figure is the cumulative FDI from April 2000 to December 2017. The DIPP figures include equity inflows, reinvested earnings and “other capital,” and are not directly comparable with the BEA data. Outward FDI data has been sourced from: http://ficci.in/study- page.asp?spid=20933&deskid=54531 Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions) Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment Total Inward 456,911 100% Total Outward N/A 100% Mauritius 141,925 31% N/A N/A N/A Singapore 94,651 21% N/A N/A N/A Japan 33,081 7% N/A N/A N/A Netherlands 30,884 7% N/A N/A N/A United States 28,349 6% N/A N/A N/A “0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000. Note: Outward Direct Investment – According to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) of the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the outward FDI from India in equity, loan and guaranteed issue stood at US$ 12.59 billion in FY2018-19. Source: Inward FDI DIPP, Ministry of Commerce and Industry Outward Investments (July 2018-December 2018) RBI Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment Portfolio Investment Assets Top Five Partners (Millions, current US Dollars) Total Equity Securities Total Debt Securities All Countries 3,374 100% All Countries 2,010 100% All Countries 1,723 100% United States 2218 59% United States 614 31% United States 1604 93% China, P.R. Mainland 605 16% China, P.R. Mainland 605 30% Brazil 51 3% Luxembourg 317 8% Luxembourg 317 16% Mauritius 27 2% Mauritius 144 4% Mauritius 117 6% France 20 1% Indonesia 63 2% Indonesia 63 3% United Kingdom 19 1% Macau Executive Summary Macau became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on December 20, 1999. Macau’s status since reverting to Chinese sovereignty is defined in the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration (1987) and the Basic Law. Under the concept of “one country, two systems” articulated in these documents, Macau enjoys a high degree of autonomy in economic matters, and its economic system is to remain unchanged for 50 years following the 1999 reversion to Chinese sovereignty. The Government of Macau (GOM) maintains a transparent, non-discriminatory, and free-market economy. The GOM is committed to maintaining an investor-friendly environment. In 2002, the GOM ended a long-standing gaming monopoly, awarding two gaming concessions and one sub-concession to consortia with U.S. interests. This opening encouraged substantial U.S. investment in casinos and hotels and has spurred rapid economic growth. Macau is today the biggest gaming center in the world, having surpassed Las Vegas in terms of gambling revenue. U.S. investment over the past decade is estimated to exceed USD 23.8 billion. In addition to gaming, Macau hopes to position itself as a regional center for incentive travel, conventions, and tourism, though to date it has experienced limited success in diversifying its economy. In 2007, business leaders founded the American Chamber of Commerce of Macau. Macau also seeks to become a “commercial and trade cooperation service platform” between mainland China and Portuguese-speaking countries. The GOM has various policies to promote these efforts and to create business opportunities for domestic and foreign investors. In September 2016, the GOM announced its first Five-Year Development Plan (2016-2020). Highlights include establishing a trade cooperation service platform between mainland China and Portuguese-speaking countries, improving the structure of industries, increasing the quality of life, protecting the environment, and strengthening government efficiency. Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address TI Corruption Perceptions Index N/A x of 175 http://www.transparency.org/ research/cpi/overview World Bank’s Doing Business Report N/A x of 190 http://www.doingbusiness.org/en/rankings Global Innovation Index N/A x of 129 https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/ analysis-indicator U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions) 2016 USD 2,541 https://apps.bea.gov/international/factsheet/ World Bank GNI per capita 2018 USD 79,110 http://data.worldbank.org/ indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD 1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment Under the concept of “one country, two systems,” Macau enjoys a high degree of autonomy in economic matters, and its economic system is to remain unchanged until at least 2049. The GOM maintains a transparent, non-discriminatory, and free-market economy. Macau has separate membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) from that of mainland China. There are no restrictions placed on foreign investment in Macau as there are no special rules governing foreign investment. Both overseas and domestic firms register under the same set and are subject to the same regulations on business, such as the Commercial Code (Decree 40/99/M). Macau is heavily dependent on the gaming sector and tourism. The GOM aims to diversify Macau’s economy by attracting foreign investment and is committed to maintaining an investor-friendly environment. Corporate taxes are low, with a tax rate of 12 percent for companies whose net profits exceed MOP 300,000 (USD 37,500). For net profits less than USD 37,500, the tax ranges from three percent to 12 percent. The top personal tax rate is 12 percent. The tax rate of casino concessionaries is 35 percent on gross gaming revenue, plus a four percent contribution for culture, infrastructure, tourism, and a social security fund. In 2002, the GOM ended a long-standing gaming monopoly, awarding two gaming concessions to consortia with U.S. interests. This opening has encouraged substantial U.S. investment in casinos and hotels and has spurred rapid economic growth. Macau is attempting to position itself to be a regional center for incentive travel, conventions, and tourism. In March 2019, the GOM extended for two years the gaming licenses of SJM (a locally-owned company) and MGM China (a joint venture with investment from U.S.-owned MGM Resorts International that holds a sub-concession from SJM), that were set to expire in 2020. The concessions of all six of Macau’s gambling concessionaires and sub-concessionaires are now set to expire in 2022. The GOM is currently drafting a bill to guide the gaming concession retendering process. The Macau Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) is the GOM agency responsible for promoting trade and investment activities. IPIM provides one-stop services, including notary service, for business registration, and it applies legal and administrative procedures to all local and foreign individuals or organizations interested in setting up a company in Macau. Macau maintains an ongoing dialogue with investors through various business networks and platforms, such as the IPIM, the Macau Chamber of Commerce, AmCham Macau, and the Macau Association of Banks. Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment Foreign firms and individuals are free to establish companies, branches, and representative offices without discrimination or undue regulation in Macau. There are no restrictions on the ownership of such establishments. Company directors are not required to be citizens of, or resident in, Macau, except for the following three professional services which impose residency requirements: Education – an individual applying to establish a school must have a Certificate of Identity or have the right to reside in Macau. The principal of a school must be a Macau resident. Newspapers and magazines – applicants must first apply for business registration and register with the Government Information Bureau as an organization or an individual. The publisher of a newspaper or magazine must be a Macau resident or have the right to reside in Macau. Legal services – lawyers from foreign jurisdictions who seek to practice Macau law must first obtain residency in Macau. Foreign lawyers must also pass an examination before they can register with the Lawyer’s Association, a self-regulatory body. The examination is given in Chinese or Portuguese. After passing the examination, foreign lawyers are required to serve an 18-month internship before they are able to practice law in Macau. Other Investment Policy Reviews Macau last conducted the WTO Trade Policy Review in May 2013. https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tpr_e/g281_e.pdf Business Facilitation Macau provides a favorable business and investment environment for enterprises and investors. The IPIM helps foreign investors in registering a company and liaising with the involved agencies for entry into the Macau market. The business registration process takes less than 10 working days. http://www.ipim.gov.mo/en/services/one-stop-service/handle-company-registration-procedures/ . Outward Investment Macau, as a free market economy, does not promote or incentivize outward investment, nor does it restrict domestic investors from investing abroad. Hong Kong and mainland China were the top two destinations for Macau’s outward investments in 2018. 3. Legal Regime Transparency of the Regulatory System The GOM has transparent policies and laws that establish clear rules and do not unnecessarily impede investment. The basic elements of a competition policy are set out in Macau’s Commercial Code. The GOM will normally conduct a three-month public consultation when amending or making legislation, including investment laws, and will prepare a draft bill based on the results of the public consultation. The lawmakers will discuss the draft bill before putting it to a final vote. All the processes are transparent and consistent with international norms. Public comments received by the GOM are not made available online to the public. The draft bills are made available at the Legislative Assembly’s website http://www.al.gov.mo/zh/, while this website http://www.io.gov.mo/ links to the GOM’s Printing Bureau, which publishes laws, rules, and procedures. Macau’s anti-corruption agency the Commission Against Corruption (known by its Portuguese acronym CCAC) carries out ombudsman functions to safeguard rights, freedoms, and legitimate interests of individuals and to ensure the impartiality and efficiency of public administration. Macau’s law on the budgetary framework (Decree 15/2017) aims to reinforce monitoring of public finances and to enhance transparency in the preparation and execution of the fiscal budget. International Regulatory Considerations Macau is a member of WTO and adopts international norms. The GOM notified all draft technical regulations to the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade. Macau, as a signatory to the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), has achieved a 100 percent rate of implementation commitments. Legal System and Judicial Independence Under “one country, two systems”, Macau maintains Continental European law as the foundation of its legal system, which is based on the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. The current judicial process is procedurally competent, fair, and reliable. Macau has a written commercial law and contract law. The Commercial Code is a comprehensive source of commercial law, while the Civil Code serves as a fundamental source of contractual law. Courts in Macau include the Court of Final Appeal, Intermediate Courts, and Primary Courts. There is also an Administrative Court, which has jurisdiction over administrative and tax cases. These provide an effective means for enforcing property and contractual rights. At present, the Court of Final Appeal has three judges; the Intermediate Courts have nine judges; and the Primary Courts have 31 judges. The Public Prosecutions Office has 38 prosecutors. Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment Macau’s legal system is based on the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. Foreign and domestic companies register under the same rules and are subject to the same set of commercial and bankruptcy laws (Decree 40/99/M). Competition and Anti-Trust Laws Macau has no agency that reviews transactions for competition-related concerns, nor a competition law. The Commercial Code (Law No. 16/2009) contains basic elements of a competition policy with regard to commercial practices that can distort the proper functioning of markets. While the GOM has stated that existing provisions are adequate and appropriate given the scale and scope of local economy, it announced in March 2019 that it was studying a fair competition law that would protect against monopolies and price-fixing. The GOM has since not disclosed the progress of the study. Expropriation and Compensation The U.S. Consulate General is not aware of any direct or indirect actions to expropriate. Legal expropriations of private property may occur if it is in the public interest. In such cases, the GOM will exchange the private property with an equivalent public property based on the fair market value and conditions of the former. The exchange of property is in accordance with established principles of international law. There is no remunerative compensation. Dispute Settlement ICSID Convention and New York Convention Both the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID Convention) and the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention) apply to Macau. The Law on International Commercial Arbitration (Decree 55/98/M) provides for enforcement of awards under the 1958 New York Convention. Investor-State Dispute Settlement The U.S. Consulate General is aware of one previous investment dispute involving U.S. or other foreign investors or contractors and the GOM. In March 2010, a low-cost airline carrier was reportedly forced to cancel flight services because of a credit dispute with its fuel provider, triggering events which led to the airline’s de-licensing. Macau courts declared the airline bankrupt in September 2010. The airline’s major shareholder, a U.S. private investment company, filed a case in the Macau courts seeking a judgment as to whether a GOM administrative act led to the airline’s demise. The Court of Second Instance held hearings in May and June 2012. In November 2013, the Court of Second Instance rejected the appeal. Private investment disputes are normally handled in the courts or via private negotiation. Alternatively, disputes may be referred to the Hong Kong International Arbitration Center or the World Trade Center Macau Arbitration Center. International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts Macau has an arbitration law (Decree 55/98/M), which adopts the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) model law for international commercial arbitration. The GOM accepts international arbitration of investment disputes between itself and investors. Local courts recognize and enforce foreign arbitral awards. Macau established the World Trade Center Macau Arbitration Center in June 1998. The objective of the Center is to promote the resolution of disputes through arbitration and conciliation, providing the disputing parties with alternative resolutions other than judicial litigation. Foreign judgments in civil and commercial matters may be enforced in Macau. The enforcement of foreign judgments is stipulated in Articles 1199 and 1200 of the Civil Procedure Code. A foreign court decision will be recognized and enforced in Macau, provided that it qualifies as a final decision supported by authentic documentation and that its enforcement will not breach Macau’s public policy. Bankruptcy Regulations Commercial and bankruptcy laws are written under the Macau Commercial Code, the Civil Procedure Code, and the Penal Code. Bankruptcy proceedings can be invoked by an application from the bankrupt business, by petition of the creditor, or by the Public Prosecutor. There are four methods used to prevent the occurrence of bankruptcy: the creditors meeting, the audit of the company’s assets, the amicable settlement, and the creditor agreement. According to Articles 615-618 of the Civil Code and Article 351-353 of the Civil Procedure Code, a creditor who has a justified fear of losing the guarantee of his credits may request seizure of the assets of the debtor. Bankruptcy offenses are subject to criminal liability. There is no credit bureau or other credit monitoring authority serving Macau’s market. 4. Industrial Policies Investment Incentives To attract foreign investment, the GOM offers investment incentives to investors on a national treatment basis. These incentives are contained in Decrees 23/98/M and 49/85/M and are provided so long as companies can prove they are doing one of the following: promoting economic diversification, contributing to the promotion of exports to new unrestricted markets, promoting added value within their activity’s value chain, or contributing to technical modernization. There is no requirement that Macau residents own shares. These incentives are categorized as fiscal incentives, financial incentives, and export diversification incentives. Fiscal incentives include full or partial exemption from profit/corporate tax, industrial tax, property tax, stamp duty for transfer of properties, and consumption tax. The tax incentives are consistent with the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, as they are neither export subsidies nor import substitution subsidies as defined in the WTO Agreement. In 2019, the GOM put forward an enhanced tax deduction for research and development (R&D) expenditure incurred for innovation and technology projects by companies whose registered capital reached USD 125,000, or whose average taxable profits reached USD 62,500 per year in three consecutive years. The tax deduction amounts to 300 percent for the first USD 375,000 of qualifying R&D expenditure and 200 percent for the remaining amount, subject to a limit of USD 1.9 million in total). In addition, income received from Portuguese speaking countries is exempt from the corporate tax, provided such income has been subject to tax in its place of origin. Two new laws to encourage financial leasing activities in Macau became effective in April 2019. Under the new regime, the minimum capital requirement of a financial leasing company is reduced from USD 3.75 million to USD 1.25 million. In addition, the acquisition by the financial leasing company of a property exclusively for its sole use has an exemption of up to USD 62,500 from a stamp duty. Financial incentives include government-funded interest subsidies. Export diversification incentives include subsidies given to companies and trade associations attending trade promotion activities organized by IPIM. Only companies registered with Macau Economic Services (MES) may receive subsidies for costs such as space rental or audio-visual material production. Macau also provides other subsidies for the installation of anti-pollution equipment. Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation Macau is a free port; however, there are four types of dutiable commodities: liquors, tobacco, vehicles, and petrol (gasoline). Licenses must be obtained from the MES prior to importation of these commodities. In order to promote the MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions) and logistics industries in Macau, the GOM has accepted the ATA Carnet (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission), an international customs document providing an efficient method for the temporary import and re-export of goods that eases the way for foreign exhibitions and businesses. The latest CEPA addition established principles of trade facilitation, including simplifying customs procedures, enhancing transparency, and strengthening cooperation. Performance and Data Localization Requirements Macau does not follow a forced localization policy in which foreign investors must use domestic content in goods or technology. There are no requirements by the GOM for foreign IT providers to turn over source code and/or provide access to surveillance (i.e., backdoors into hardware and software or turning over keys for encryption). According to the Personal Data Protection Act (Decree 8/2005), if there is transfer of personal data to a destination outside Macau, the opinion of the Office for Personal Data Protection — the regulatory authority responsible for supervising and enforcing the Act — must be sought to confirm if such destination ensures an adequate level of protection. In December 2019, Macau’s Cybersecurity Law came into force. With this law, public and private network operators in certain industries have to meet obligations, including providing real-time access to select network data to Macau authorities, with the stated aim of protecting the information network and computer systems. For example, network operators must register and verify the identity of users before providing telecommunication services. The new law creates new investment and operational costs for affected businesses, and has raised some privacy and surveillance concerns. One major U.S. cloud computing company reported that Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau had refused permission for potential clients in the gaming sector to export personal data-to-data centers located outside of Macau. 5. Protection of Property Rights Real Property Private ownership of property is enshrined in the Basic Law. There are no restrictions on foreign property ownership. Macau has a sound banking mortgage system, which is under the supervision of the Macau Monetary Authority (MMA). There are only a small number of freehold property interests in the older part of Macau. According to the Cartography and Cadaster Bureau, 21 percent of land parcels in Macau do not have clear title, for unknown reasons. Industry observers commented that no one knows whether these land parcels will be privately or publicly owned in the future. The Land Law (Decree 10/2013) stipulates that provisional land concessions cannot be renewed upon their expiration if their leaseholders fail to finish developing the respective plots of land within a maximum concession period of 25 years. The leaseholders will not only be prohibited from renewing the undeveloped concessions – regardless of who or what caused the non-development – but also have no right to be indemnified or compensated. Intellectual Property Rights Macau is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Macau is not listed in USTR’s Special 301 Report. Macau has acceded to the Bern Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. Patents and trademarks are registered under Decree 97/99/M. Macau’s copyright laws are compatible with the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, and government offices are required to use only licensed software. The GOM devotes considerable attention to intellectual property rights enforcement and coordinates with copyright holders. Source Identification Codes are stamped on all optical discs produced in Macau. The MES uses an expedited prosecution arrangement to speed up punishment of accused retailers of pirated products. The copyright protection law has been extended to cover online privacy. Copyright infringement for trade or business purposes is subject to a fine or maximum imprisonment of four years. Macau Customs maintains an enforcement department to investigate incidents of intellectual property (IP) theft. Macau Customs works closely with mainland Chinese authorities, foreign customs agencies, and the World Customs Organization to share best practices to address criminal organizations engaging in IP theft. In 2019, Macau Customs seized a total of 3,849 pieces of counterfeit goods, including 3,329 garments, 7 leather products, and 513 electronic appliances. In 2019, the MES filed a total of 15,391 applications for trademark registrations. In 2019, the MES filed a total of 15,391 applications for trademark registrations. 6. Financial Sector Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment Macau allows free flows of financial resources. Foreign investors can obtain credit in the local financial market. The GOM is stepping up its efforts to develop finance leasing businesses and exploring opportunities to establish a system for trade credit insurance in order to take a greater role in promoting cooperation between companies from Portuguese-speaking countries. Since 2010, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has provided cross-border settlement of funds for Macau residents and institutions involved in transactions for RMB bonds issued in Hong Kong. Macau residents and institutions can purchase or sell, through Macau RMB participating banks, RMB bonds issued in Hong Kong and Macau. The Macau RMB Real Time Gross Settlements (RMB RTGS) System came into operation in March 2016 to provide real-time settlement services for RMB remittances and interbank transfer of RMB funds. The RMB RTGS System is intended to improve risk management and clearing efficiency of RMB funds and foster Macau’s development into an RMB clearing platform for trade settlement between China and Portuguese-speaking countries. In December 2019, the PBoC canceled an existing quota of RMB 20,000 exchanged in Macau for each individual transaction. Macau has no stock market, but Macau companies can seek a listing in Hong Kong’s stock market. Macau and Hong Kong financial regulatory authorities cooperate on issues of mutual concern. Under the Macau Insurance Ordinance, the MMA authorizes and monitors insurance companies. There are 11 life insurance companies and 13 non-life insurance companies in Macau. Total gross premium income from insurance services amounted to USD 2.7 billion in the third quarter of 2019. In October 2018, the Legislative Assembly took steps to tackle cross-border tax evasion. Offshore institutions in Macau, including credit institutions, insurers, underwriters, and offshore trust management companies, will be abolished by the end of 2020. Decree 9/2012, in effect since October 2012, stipulates that banks must compensate depositors up to a maximum of MOP 500,000 (USD 62,500) in case of a bank failure. To finance the deposit protection scheme, the GOM has injected MOP 150 million (USD 18.75 million) into the deposit protection fund, with banks paying an annual contribution of 0.05 percent of the amount of protected deposits held. Money and Banking System The MMA functions as a de facto central bank. It is responsible for maintaining the stability of Macau’s financial system and for managing its currency reserves and foreign assets. At present, there are thirty-one financial institutions in Macau, including 12 local banks and 19 branches of banks incorporated outside Macau. There is also a finance company with restrictive banking activities, two financial leasing companies and a non-bank credit institution dedicated to the issuance and management of electronic money stored value card services. In addition, there are 11 moneychangers, two cash remittance companies, two financial intermediaries, six exchange counters, and one representative office of a financial institution. The BoC and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) are the two largest banks in Macau, with total assets of USD 79.8 billion and USD 33.9 billion, respectively. Banks with capital originally from mainland China and Portugal had a combined market share of about 86 percent of total deposits in the banking system at the end of 2016. Total deposits amounted to USD 83.8 billion by the end of 2019. In the fourth quarter of 2019, banks in Macau maintained a capital adequacy ratio of 14.2 percent, well above the minimum eight percent recommended by the Bank for International Settlements. Accounting systems in Macau are consistent with international norms. The MMA prohibits the city’s financial institutions, banks and payment services from providing services to businesses issuing virtual currencies or tokens. Foreign Exchange and Remittances Foreign Exchange Profits and other funds associated with an investment, including investment capital, earnings, loan repayments, lease payments, and capital gains, can be freely converted and remitted. The domestic currency, Macau Official Pataca (MOP), is pegged to the Hong Kong Dollar at 1.03 and indirectly to the U.S. Dollar at an exchange rate of approximately MOP 7.99 = USD 1. The MMA is committed to exchange rate stability through maintenance of the peg to the Hong Kong Dollar. Although Macau imposes no restrictions on capital flows or foreign exchange operations, exporters are required to convert 40 percent of foreign currency earnings into MOP. This legal requirement does not apply to tourism services. Remittance Policies There are no recent changes to or plans to change investment remittance policies. Macau does not restrict the remittance of profits and dividends derived from investment, nor does it require reporting on cross-border remittances. Foreign investors can bring capital into Macau and remit it freely. A Memorandum of Understanding on AML actions between MMA and PBoC, increased information exchanges between the two parties, as well as cooperation on onsite inspections of casino operations. Furthermore, Macau’s terrorist asset-freezing law, which is based on United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions, requires travelers entering or leaving with cash or other negotiable monetary instruments valued at MOP 120,000 (USD 15,000) or more to sign a declaration form and submit it to the Macau Customs Service. In December 2019, the PBoC increased a daily limit set on the amount of RMB-denominated funds sent by Macau residents to personal accounts held in mainland China from RMB 50,000 to RMB 80,000. Sovereign Wealth Funds The International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggested in July 2014 that the GOM invest its large fiscal reserves through a fund modeled on sovereign wealth funds to protect the city’s economy from economic downturns. In November 2015, the GOM decided to establish such a fund, called the MSAR Investment and Development Fund (MIDF), through a substantial allocation from the city’s ample fiscal reserves. However, the GOM in 2019 withdrew a draft bill that proposed the use of USD 7.5 billion to seed the MIDF over public concerns about the government’s supervisory capability. The MMA said it will conduct a consultation in mid-2020 to help the public better understand the regulations and operations of the fund. 7. State-Owned Enterprises Macau does not have state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Several economic sectors – including cable television, telecommunications, electricity, and airport/port management, are run by private companies under concession contracts from the GOM. The GOM holds a small percentage of shares (ranging from one to 10 percent) in these government-affiliated enterprises. The government set out in its Commercial Code the basic elements of a competition policy with regard to commercial practices that can distort the proper functioning of markets. Court cases related to anti-competitive behavior remain rare. Privatization Program The GOM has given no indication in recent years that it has plans for a privatization program. 8. Responsible Business Conduct The six gaming concessionaires that dominate Macau’s economy pay four percent of gross gaming revenues to the government to fund cultural and social programs in the SAR. Several operators also directly fund gaming addiction rehabilitation programs. Some government-affiliated entities maintain active corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. For example, Companhia de Electricidade de Macau, an electric utility, provides educational programs and repair services free-of-charge to underprivileged residents. One of the nine aspects that the GOM will consider for the renewal of gaming licenses is casino operators’ CSR performance. In November 2019, the Business Awards of Macau presented the Gold Award to Galaxy Entertainment Group for its corporate social responsibility initiatives. Macau is not a member of the OECD, and hence, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are not applicable to Macau companies. 9. Corruption Mainland China extended in February 2006 the United Nations Convention Against Corruption to Macau. Macau has laws to combat corruption by public officials and the private sector. Anti-corruption laws are applied in a non-discriminatory manner and effectively enforced. One provision stipulates that anyone who offers a bribe to foreign public officials (including officials from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan) and officials of public international organizations in exchange for a trade deal could receive a jail term of up to three years or fines. The CCAC is a member of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities and a member of the Anti-Corruption Action Plan for Asia and the Pacific. The CCAC’s guidelines on prevention and repression of corruption in the private sector and a booklet Corruption Prevention Tips for Private Companies provide rules of conduct that private companies must observe. In January 2019, the GOM completed a public consultation on public procurement in order to create a legal framework through which the GOM will seek to promote an efficient and transparent regime. The GOM expected that a draft bill will be ready in the second half of 2020. Resources to Report Corruption CHAN Tsz King, Commissioner Commission Against Corruption 105, Avenida Xian Xing Hai, 17/F, Centro Golden Dragon, Macau +853- 2832-6300 email@example.com 10. Political and Security Environment Macau is politically stable. The U.S. Consulate General is not aware of any incidents in recent years involving politically motivated damage to projects or installations. 11. Labor Policies and Practices Macau’s unemployment rate in January 2020 was 1.7 percent. Foreign businesses cite a constant shortage of skilled workers – a result of the past decade’s boom in entertainment facilities – as a top constraint on their operations and future expansion. The government is studying proposals to resolve the human resources problem. For example, Macau has labor importation schemes for unskilled and skilled workers who cannot be recruited locally. However, both local and foreign casino operators in Macau are required by law to employ only Macau residents as croupiers. Taxi and bus drivers must also be local residents. There is no such restriction imposed on any other sector of the economy. Macau does not have any policies that waive labor laws in order to attract or retain investment. The rights for workers to form trade unions and to strike are both enshrined in the Basic Law, but there are no laws in Macau that specifically deal with those rights. The law does not provide that workers can collectively bargain, and while workers have the right to strike, there is no specific protection in the law from retribution if workers exercise this right. Labor unions are independent of the government and employers, by law and in practice. According to the Labor Relations Law, a female worker cannot be dismissed, except with just cause (e.g., willful disobedience to orders given by superiors, or violation of regulations on occupational hygiene and safety), during her pregnancy or within three months of giving birth. In practice, either the employer or the employee may rescind the labor contract with or without just cause. In general, any circumstance that makes it impossible to continue the labor relation can constitute just cause for rescission of the contract. If the employer terminates the contract with the worker without just cause, the employer must pay the employee severance pay. In addition, Macau’s social security system, which is regulated by Decree 84/89/M, provides local workers with economic aid when they are old, unemployed, or sick. Workers who believe they were dismissed unlawfully can bring a case to court or lodge a complaint with the Labor Affairs Bureau. Even without formal collective bargaining rights, companies often negotiate with unions, although the government may act as an intermediary. There is no indication that past disputes or appeals were subject to lengthy delays. The Labor Relations Law does not contain provisions regarding collective bargaining, which is not common at the company or industry level. The GOM has put measures in place to replace some foreign workers with Macau residents. Macau has a law imposing criminal penalties for employers of illegal migrants and preventing foreign workers from changing employers in Macau. The government has used the proceeds of a tax on the import of temporary workers for retraining local unemployed people. Effective September 1 2019, the statutory minimum hourly wage rate increased from USD 3.8 to USD 4.0. The Legislative Assembly is discussing a draft bill on mandating across-the-board minimum wages. 13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data: BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) 2018 $55,040 2018 $55,084 www.worldbank.org/en/country Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or internationalSource of data: BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2018 $398 N/A N/A BEA data available at https://www.bea.gov/international/ direct-investment-and-multinational- enterprises-comprehensive-data Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2017 $51 BEA data available at https://www.bea.gov/international/ direct-investment-and-multinational- enterprises-comprehensive-data Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP 2018 67% 2018 53% UNCTAD data available at https://unctad.org/en/Pages/DIAE/ World%20Investment%20Report/ Country-Fact-Sheets.aspx * Source for Host Country Data: Macau Statistics and Census Service Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions) Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment Total Inward 34,911 100% Total Outward 2,930 100% China, P.R.: Hong Kong 9,800 28% China, P.R.: Mainland 1,631 56% British Virgin Islands 9,123 26% China, P.R.: Hong Kong 1,141 39% China, P.R.: Mainland 6,241 18% Cayman Islands 74 3% Cayman Islands 6,078 17% British Virgin Islands 70 2% Portugal 1,134 3% Cyprus 0 0% “0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000. Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment Portfolio Investment Assets Top Five Partners (Millions, current US Dollars) Total Equity Securities Total Debt Securities All Countries 11,324,581 100% All Countries 7,929,155 100% All Countries 3,395,426 100% Cayman Islands 1,686,670 15% Cayman Islands 1,234,954 16% Canada 505,494 15% United Kingdom 1,346,345 12% United Kingdom 929,469 12% Cayman Islands 451,716 13% Japan 1,003,988 9% Japan 775,570 10% United Kingdom 416,876 12% Canada 975,929 9% Canada 470,435 6% C Japan 228,418 7% France 558,074 5% Switzerland 442,195 6% Netherlands, The 184,339 5% Nigeria Executive Summary Nigeria’s economy – Africa’s largest – exited recession in 2017, assisted by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s more rationalized foreign exchange regime. No growth is expected in the near term and although 2019 ended with a real growth rate of 2.3 percent this is still below Nigeria’s population growth rate of 2.6 percent. With the largest population in Africa (estimated at nearly 200 million), Nigeria continues to represent a large consumer market for investors and traders. Nigeria has a very young population with nearly two-thirds under the age of 25. It offers abundant natural resources and a low-cost labor pool and enjoys mostly duty-free trade with other member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Nigeria’s full market potential remains unrealized because of pervasive corruption, inadequate power and transportation infrastructure, high energy costs, an inconsistent regulatory and legal environment, insecurity, a slow and ineffective bureaucracy and judicial system, and inadequate intellectual property rights protections and enforcement. The Nigerian government has undertaken reforms to help improve the business environment, including making starting a business faster by allowing electronic stamping of registration documents, and making it easier to obtain construction permits, register property, get credit, and pay taxes. Reforms undertaken since 2017 have helped boost Nigeria’s ranking on the World Bank’s annual Doing Business rankings to 131 out of 190. Nigeria’s underdeveloped power sector remains a bottleneck to broad-based economic development. Power on the national grid currently averages 4,000 megawatts, forcing most businesses to generate much of their own electricity. The World Bank currently ranks Nigeria 169 out of 190 countries for ease of obtaining electricity for business. Reform of Nigeria’s power sector is ongoing, but investor confidence continues to be shaken by tariff and regulatory uncertainty. The Nigerian Government, in partnership with the World Bank, published a Power Sector Recovery Plan (PSRP) in 2017. However, three years after its launch, differing perspectives on various PSRP interventions have delayed implementation. The Ministry of Finance is driving the implementation effort and has convened three Federal Government of Nigeria committees charged with moving the process forward in the areas of regulation, policy, and finances. Discussions between the government and the World Bank are continuing, but some sector players report skepticism that the World Bank’s USD 1 billion loan will be enacted, though FGN may proceed without it. The plan is ambitious and will require political will from the administration, external investment to address the accumulated deficit, and discipline in implementing plans to mitigate future shortfalls. It is, nevertheless, a step in the right direction, and recognizes explicitly that the Nigerian economy is losing on average approximately USD 29 billion annually due to lack of adequate power. Nigeria’s trade regime remains protectionist in key areas. High tariffs, restricted forex availability for 44 categories of imports, and prohibitions on many other import items have the aim of spurring domestic agricultural and manufacturing sector growth. Nigeria’s imports rose in 2019, largely as a result of the country’s continued recovery from the 2016 economic recession. U.S. goods exports to Nigeria in 2018 were valued at USD 2.7 billion, up nearly 23 percent from the previous year, while U.S. imports from Nigeria totaled USD 5.6 billion, a decrease of 20.3 percent. U.S. exports to Nigeria are primarily refined petroleum products, used vehicles, cereals, and machinery. Crude oil and petroleum products continued to account for over 95 percent of Nigerian exports to the United States in 2018 (latest data available). The stock of U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Nigeria was USD 5.6 billion in 2018, a substantial increase from USD 3.8 billion in 2016, but only a modest increase from 2015’s USD 5.5 billion in FDI. U.S. FDI in Nigeria continues to be led by the oil and gas sector. Given the corruption risk associated with the Nigerian business environment, potential investors often develop anti-bribery compliance programs. The United States and other parties to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Anti-Bribery Convention aggressively enforce anti-bribery laws, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). A high-profile FCPA case in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector resulted in U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and U.S. Department of Justice rulings in 2010 that included record fines for a U.S. multinational and its subsidiaries that had paid bribes to Nigerian officials. Since then, the SEC has charged an additional four international companies with bribing Nigerian government officials to obtain contracts, permits, and resolve customs disputes. See SEC enforcement actions at https://www.sec.gov/spotlight/fcpa/fcpa-cases.shtml. Security remains a concern to investors in Nigeria due to high rates of violent crime, kidnappings for ransom, and terrorism. The ongoing Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa (ISIS-WA) insurgencies have included attacks against civilian and military targets in the northeast of the country, causing general insecurity and a major humanitarian crisis there. Militant attacks on oil and gas infrastructure in the Niger Delta region restricted oil production and export in 2016, but a restored amnesty program and more federal government engagement in the Delta region have brought a reprieve in violence and allowed restoration of oil and gas production. The longer-term impact of the government’s Delta peace efforts, however, remains unclear and criminal activity in the Delta – in particular, rampant oil theft – remains a serious concern. Maritime criminality in Nigerian waters, including incidents of piracy and crew kidnapping for ransom, has increased in recent years, and law enforcement efforts have been ineffectual. International inspectors have voiced concerns over the adequacy of security measures at some Nigerian port facilities onshore. Businesses report that bribery of customs and port officials remains common to avoid delays, and smuggled goods routinely enter Nigeria’s seaports. Although the constitution and laws provide for freedom of speech and press, the government frequently restricts these rights. A large and vibrant private, domestic press frequently criticizes the government, but critics report being subjected to threats, intimidation, and sometimes violence as a result. Security services increasingly detain and harass journalists, including for reporting on sensitive topics such as corruption and security. As a result, some journalists practice self-censorship on sensitive issues. Journalists and local NGOs claim security services intimidate journalists, including editors and owners, into censoring reports perceived to be critical of the government. Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2019 146 of 180 http://www.transparency.org/ research/cpi/overview World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2019 131 of 190 http://www.doingbusiness.org/ en/rankings Global Innovation Index 2019 114 of 129 https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/ analysis-indicator U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions) 2018 USD 5.6 billion https://apps.bea.gov/international/ factsheet/ World Bank GNI per capita 2018 USD 1,960 http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/ NY.GNP.PCAP.CD 1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) Act of 1995 dismantled controls and limits on FDI, allowing for 100 percent foreign ownership in all sectors, except the petroleum sector where FDI is limited to joint ventures or production-sharing contracts. It also created the NIPC with a mandate to encourage and assist investment in Nigeria. The NIPC features a One-Stop Investment Center (OSIC) that nominally includes participation of 27 governmental and parastatal agencies (not all of which are physically present at the OSIC) to consolidate and streamline administrative procedures for new businesses and investments. Foreign investors receive largely the same treatment as domestic investors in Nigeria, including tax incentives. The NIPC’s ability to attract new investment has been limited because of the unresolved challenges to investment and business. The Nigerian government continues to promote import substitution policies such as trade restrictions, foreign exchange restrictions, and local content requirements in a bid to attract investment that would develop domestic production capacity and services that would otherwise be imported. The import bans and high tariffs used to advance Nigeria’s import substitution goals have been undermined by smuggling of targeted products (most notably rice and poultry) through the country’s porous borders, and by corruption in the import quota systems developed by the government to incentivize domestic investment. The government began closing land borders to commercial trade in August 2019 to try and curb smuggling. Investors generally find Nigeria a difficult place to do business despite the government’s stated goal to attract investment. Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment There are currently no limits on foreign control of investments; however, Nigerian regulatory bodies may insist on domestic equity as a prerequisite to doing business. The NIPC Act of 1995 liberalized the ownership structure of business in Nigeria allowing foreign investors to own and control 100 percent of the shares in any company except the petroleum industry. Ownership prior to the NIPC Act was limited to a 60/40 percentage in favor of majority Nigeria control. The foreign control of investments applies to all industries minus a few exceptions. Investment in the oil and gas sector is limited to joint ventures or production-sharing agreements. Laws also control investment in the production of items critical to national security (i.e. firearms, ammunition, and military and paramilitary apparel) to domestic investors. Foreign investors must register with the NIPC after incorporation under the Companies and Allied Matters Decree of 1990. The NIPC Act prohibits the nationalization or expropriation of foreign enterprises except in case of national interest. Other Investment Policy Reviews The OECD completed an investment policy review of Nigeria in 2015. (http://www.oecd.org/countries/nigeria/oecd-investment-policy-reviews-nigeria-2015-9789264208407-en.htm ). The WTO published a trade policy review of Nigeria in 2017, which also includes a brief overview and assessment of Nigeria’s investment climate. That review is available at https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tpr_e/tp456_e.htm . The United Nations Council on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) published an investment policy review of Nigeria and a Blue Book on Best Practice in Investment Promotion and Facilitation in 2009 (available at unctad.org ). The recommendations from its reports continue to be valid: Nigeria needs to diversify FDI away from the oil and gas sector by improving the regulatory framework, investing in physical and human capital, taking advantage of regional integration and reviewing external tariffs, fostering linkages and local industrial capacity, and strengthening institutions dealing with investment and related issues. NIPC and the Federal Inland Revenue Service published a compendium of investment incentives which is available online at https://nipc.gov.ng/compendium . Business Facilitation Although the NIPC offers the OSIC, Nigeria does not have an online single window business registration website, as noted by Global Enterprise Registration (www.GER.co ). The Nigerian Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) maintains an information portal and in 2018 the Trade Ministry launched an online portal for investors called “iGuide Nigeria” (https://theiguides.org/public-docs/guides/nigeria ). Many steps for business registration can be completed online, but the final step requires submitting original documents to a CAC office to complete registration. On average, a foreign-owned limited liability company (LLC) in Nigeria (Lagos) can be established in 10 days through eight steps. This average is significantly faster than the 23-day average for Sub-Saharan Africa. Timing may vary in different parts of the country. Only a local legal practitioner accredited by the CAC can incorporate companies in Nigeria. According to the Nigerian Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, foreign capital invested in an LLC must be imported through an authorized dealer, which will issue a Certificate of Capital Importation. This certificate entitles the foreign investor to open a bank account in foreign currency. Finally, a company engaging in international trade must get an import-export license from the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS). Although not online, the OSIC co-locates relevant government agencies to provide more efficient and transparent services to investors. The OSIC assists with visas for investors, company incorporation, business permits and registration, tax registration, immigration, and customs issues. Investors may pick up documents and approvals that are statutorily required to establish an investment project in Nigeria. The Nigerian government has not established uniform definitions for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with different agencies using different definitions, so the process may vary from one company to another. Outward Investment The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) administered an Export Expansion Grant (EEG) scheme to improve non-oil export performance, but the government suspended the program in 2014 due to concerns about corruption on the part of companies that collected grants but did not actually export. The program was revised and re-launched in 2018 when the federal government set aside 5.12 billion naira (roughly USD 14.2 million) in the 2019 budget for the EEG scheme. The Nigerian Export-Import (NEXIM) Bank provides commercial bank guarantees and direct lending to facilitate export sector growth, although these services are underused. NEXIM’s Foreign Input Facility provides normal commercial terms of three to five years (or longer) for the importation of machinery and raw materials used for generating exports. Agencies created to promote industrial exports remain burdened by uneven management, vaguely defined policy guidelines, and corruption. Nigeria’s inadequate power supply and lack of infrastructure coupled with the associated high production costs leave Nigerian exporters at a significant disadvantage. Many Nigerian businesses fail to export because they find meeting international packaging and safety standards is too difficult or expensive. Similarly, firms often are unable to meet consumer demand for a consistent supply of high-quality goods in sufficient quantities to support exports and meet domestic demand. Most Nigerian manufacturers remain unable to or uninterested in competing in the international market, given the size of Nigeria’s domestic market. 3. Legal Regime Transparency of the Regulatory System Nigeria’s legal, accounting, and regulatory systems comply with international norms, but application and enforcement remain uneven. Opportunities for public comment and input into proposed regulations sometimes occur. Professional organizations set standards for the provision of professional services, such as accounting, law, medicine, engineering, and advertising. These standards usually comply with international norms. No legal barriers prevent entry into these sectors. Ministries and regulatory agencies develop and make public anticipated regulatory changes or proposals and publish proposed regulations before their application. The general public has opportunity to comment through targeted outreach, including business groups and stakeholders, and during the public hearing process before a bill becomes law. There is no specialized agency tasked with publicizing proposed changes and the time period for comment may vary. Ministries and agencies do conduct impact assessments, including environmental, but assessment methodologies may vary. The National Bureau of Statistics reviews regulatory impact assessments conducted by other agencies. Laws and regulations are publicly available. Fiscal management occurs at all three tiers of government: federal, 36 state governments and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, and 774 local government areas (LGAs). Revenues from oil and non-oil sources are collected into the federation account and then shared among the different tiers of government by the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) in line with a statutory sharing formula. All state governments can collect internally generated revenues, which vary from state to state. The fiscal federalism structure does not compel states to be accountable to the federal government or transparent about revenues generated or received from the federation account. The federal government’s finances are more transparent as budgets are made public and the financial data are published by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Debt Management Office (DMO), the Budget Office of the Federation, and the National Bureau of Statistics. The state-owned oil company’s (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) financial data is very opaque. The DMO puts Nigeria’s total debt stock at USD 84 billion as of December 2019 – USD 27.7 billion or nearly 33 percent of which is external. The total debt figures presented by the DMO usually do not include off-balance-sheet financing such as sovereign guarantees. International Regulatory Considerations Foreign companies operate successfully in Nigeria’s service sectors, including telecommunications, accounting, insurance, banking, and advertising. The Investment and Securities Act of 2007 forbids monopolies, insider trading, and unfair practices in securities dealings. Nigeria is not a party to the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement (GPA). Nigeria generally regulates investment in line with the WTO’s Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMS) Agreement, but the government’s local content requirements in the oil and gas sector and the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector may conflict with Nigeria’s commitments under TRIMS. In 2013, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), under the auspices of the Ministry of Communication, issued the Guidelines for Nigerian Content Development in the ICT sector. The Guidelines require original ICT equipment manufacturers, within three years from the effective date of the guidelines, to use 50 percent local manufactured content and to use Nigerian companies to provide 80 percent of value added on networks. The Guidelines also require multinational companies operating in Nigeria to source all hardware products locally; all government agencies to procure all computer hardware only from NITDA-approved original equipment manufacturers; and ICT companies to host all consumer and subscriber data locally, use only locally manufactured SIM cards for telephone services and data, and to use indigenous companies to build cell towers and base stations. Enforcement of the Guidelines is largely inconsistent. The Nigerian government generally lacks capacity and resources to monitor labor practices, technology compliancy, and digital data flows. There are reports that individual Nigerian companies periodically lobby the National Assembly and/or NITDA to address allegations (warranted or not) against foreign firms that they are in non-compliance with the Guidelines. The goal is to promote development of domestic production of ICT products and services for the Nigerian and global markets, but the guidelines pose risks to foreign investment and U.S. companies by interrupting their global supply chain, increasing costs, disrupting global flow of data, and stifling innovative products and services. Industry representatives remain concerned about whether the guidelines would be implemented in a fair and transparent way toward all Nigerian and foreign companies. All ICT companies, including Nigerian companies, use foreign manufactured equipment as Nigeria does not have the capacity to supply ICT hardware that meets international standards. Nigeria is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which implemented a Common External Tariff (CET) beginning in 2015 with a five-year phase in period. An internal CET implementation committee headed by the Fiscal Policy/Budget Monitoring and Evaluation Department of the NCS was set up to develop the implementation work plans that were consistent with national and ECOWAS regulations. The CET was slated to be fully harmonized by 2020, but in practice some ECOWAS Member States have maintained deviations from the CET beyond the January 1, 2020, deadline. The country has put in place a CET monitoring committee domiciled at the Ministry of Finance, consisting of several ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) related to the CET. Nigeria applies five tariff bands under the CET: zero duty on capital goods, machinery, and essential drugs not produced locally; 5 percent duty on imported raw materials; 10 percent duty on intermediate goods; 20 percent duty on finished goods; and 35 percent duty on goods in certain sectors such as palm oil, meat products, dairy, and poultry that the Nigerian government seeks to protect. The CET permits ECOWAS member governments to calculate import duties higher than the maximum allowed in the tariff bands (but not to exceed a total effective duty of 70 percent) for up to 3 percent of the 5,899 tariff lines included in the ECOWAS CET. Legal System and Judicial Independence Nigeria has a complex, three-tiered legal system comprised of English common law, Islamic law, and Nigerian customary law. Most business transactions are governed by common law modified by statutes to meet local demands and conditions. The Supreme Court is the pinnacle of the judicial system and has original and appellate jurisdiction in specific constitutional, civil, and criminal matters as prescribed by Nigeria’s constitution. The Federal High Court has jurisdiction over revenue matters, admiralty law, banking, foreign exchange, other currency and monetary or fiscal matters, and lawsuits to which the federal government or any of its agencies are party. The Nigerian court system is slow and inefficient, lacks adequate court facilities and computerized document-processing systems, and poorly remunerates judges and other court officials, all of which encourages corruption and undermines enforcement. Judges frequently fail to appear for trials and court officials lack proper equipment and training. The constitution and law provide for an independent judiciary; however, the judicial branch remains susceptible to pressure from the executive and legislative branches. Political leaders have influenced the judiciary, particularly at the state and local levels. The World Bank’s publication, Doing Business 2020, ranked Nigeria 73 out of 190 on enforcement of contracts, a significant improvement from previous years. The Doing Business report credited business reforms for improving contract enforcement by issuing new rules of civil procedure for small claims courts which limit adjournments to unforeseen and exceptional circumstances but noted that there can be variation in performance indicators between cities in Nigeria (as in other developing countries). For example, resolving a commercial dispute takes 476 days in Kano but 376 days in Lagos. In the case of Lagos, the 376 days includes 40 days for filing and service, 194 days for trial and judgment, and 142 days for enforcement of the judgment with total costs averaging 42 percent of the claim. In Kano, however, filing and service only takes 21 days with enforcement of judgement only taking 90 days, but trial and judgment accounts for 365 days with total costs averaging lower at 28 percent of the claim. In comparison, in OECD countries the corresponding figures are an average of 589.6 days and averaging 21.5 percent of the claim and in sub-Saharan countries an average of 654.9 days and averaging 41.6 percent of the claim. Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment The NIPC Act of 1995 allows 100 percent foreign ownership of firms, except in the oil and gas sector where investment remains limited to joint ventures or production-sharing agreements. Laws restrict industries to domestic investors if they are considered crucial to national security, such as firearms, ammunition, and military and paramilitary apparel. Foreign investors must register with the NIPC after incorporation under the Companies and Allied Matters Decree of 1990. The NIPC Act prohibits the nationalization or expropriation of foreign enterprises except in case of national interest, but the Embassy is unaware of specific instances of such interference by the government. Competition and Anti-Trust Laws After years of debate, the Nigerian government enacted the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection (FCCPC) Act in February 2019. The act repealed the Consumer Protection Act of 2004 and replaced the previous Consumer Protection Council with a Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission while also creating a Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal to handle issues and disputes arising from the operations of the Act. Under the terms of the Act, businesses will be able to lodge anti-competitive practices complaints against other firms in the Tribunal. The act prohibits agreements made to restrain competition, such as price fixing, price rigging, collusive tendering, etc. (with specific exemptions for collective bargaining agreements and employment, among other items). The act empowers the President of Nigeria to regulate prices of certain goods and services on the recommendation of the Commission. The law prescribes stringent fines for non-compliance. The law mandates a fine of up to 10 percent of the company’s annual turnover in the preceding business year for offences. The law harmonizes oversight for consumer protection, consolidating it under the FCCPC. Expropriation and Compensation The FGN has not expropriated or nationalized foreign assets since the late 1970s, and the NIPC Act of 1995 forbids nationalization of a business or assets unless the acquisition is in the national interest or for a public purpose. In such cases, investors are entitled to fair compensation and legal redress. A U.S.-owned waste management investment expropriated by Abia State in 2008 is the only known U.S. expropriation case in Nigeria. Dispute Settlement ICSID Convention and New York Convention Nigeria is a member of the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes and the New York Convention of 1958 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (also called the “New York Convention”). The Arbitration and Conciliation Act of 1988 provides for a unified and straightforward legal framework for the fair and efficient settlement of commercial disputes by arbitration and conciliation. The Act created internationally-competitive arbitration mechanisms, established proceeding schedules, provided for the application of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) arbitration rules or any other international arbitration rule acceptable to the parties, and made the New York Convention applicable to contract enforcement, based on reciprocity. The Act allows parties to challenge arbitrators, provides that an arbitration tribunal shall ensure that the parties receive equal treatment, and ensures that each party has full opportunity to present its case. Some U.S. firms have written provisions mandating International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitration into their contracts with Nigerian partners. Several other arbitration organizations also operate in Nigeria. Investor-State Dispute Settlement Nigeria’s civil courts have jurisdiction over disputes between foreign investors and the Nigerian government as well as between foreign investors and Nigerian businesses. The courts occasionally rule against the government. Nigerian law allows the enforcement of foreign judgments after proper hearings in Nigerian courts. Plaintiffs receive monetary judgments in the currency specified in their claims. Section 26 of the NIPC Act of 1995 provides for the resolution of investment disputes through arbitration as follows: Where a dispute arises between an investor and any Government of the Federation in respect of an enterprise, all efforts shall be made through mutual discussion to reach an amicable settlement. Any dispute between an investor and any Government of the Federation in respect of an enterprise to which this Act applies which is not amicably settled through mutual discussions, may be submitted at the option of the aggrieved party to arbitration as follows: in the case of a Nigerian investor, in accordance with the rules of procedure for arbitration as specified in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act; or in the case of a foreign investor, within the framework of any bilateral or multilateral agreement on investment protection to which the Federal Government and the country of which the investor is a national are parties; or in accordance with any other national or international machinery for the settlement of investment disputes agreed on by the parties. Where in respect of any dispute, there is disagreement between the investor and the Federal Government as to the method of dispute settlement to be adopted, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Dispute Rules shall apply. Nigeria is a signatory to the 1958 Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. Nigerian Courts have generally recognized contractual provisions that call for international arbitration. Nigeria does not have a Bilateral Investment Treaty or Free Trade Agreement with the United States. Bankruptcy Regulations Reflecting Nigeria’s business culture, entrepreneurs generally do not seek bankruptcy protection. Claims often go unpaid, even in cases where creditors obtain judgments against defendants. Under Nigerian law, the term bankruptcy generally refers to individuals whereas corporate bankruptcy is referred to as insolvency. The former is regulated by the Bankruptcy Act of 1990, as amended by Bankruptcy Decree 109 of 1992. The latter is regulated by Part XV of the Companies and Allied Matters Act Cap 59 1990 which replaced the Companies Act, 1968. The Embassy is not aware of U.S. companies that have had to avail themselves of the insolvency provisions under Nigerian law. 4. Industrial Policies Investment Incentives The Nigerian government maintains different and overlapping incentive programs. The Industrial Development/Income Tax Relief Act, Cap 17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 provides incentives to pioneer industries deemed beneficial to Nigeria’s economic development and to labor-intensive industries, such as apparel. There are currently 99 industries and products that qualify for the pioneer status incentive through the NIPC, following the addition of 27 industries and products added to the list in 2017. The government has added a stipulation calling for a review of the qualifying industries and products to occur every two years. Companies that receive pioneer status may benefit from a tax holiday from payment of company income tax for an initial period of three years, extendable for one or two additional years. A pioneer industry sited in an economically disadvantaged area is entitled to a 100 percent tax holiday for seven years and an additional five percent depreciation allowance over and above the initial capital depreciation allowance. Additional tax incentives are available for investments in domestic research and development, for companies that invest in LGAs deemed disadvantaged, for local value-added processing, for investments in solid minerals and oil and gas, and for several other investment scenarios. For a full list of incentives, refer to the NIPC website at https://www.nipc.gov.ng/investment-incentives/ . The NEPC administers an EEG scheme to improve non-oil export performance. The program was suspended in 2014 due to concerns about corruption on the part of companies that collected grants but did not actually export. It was revised and relaunched in 2018. The federal government set aside 5.12 billion naira (roughly USD 14.2 million) in the 2019 budget for the EEG scheme. The NEXIM Bank provides commercial bank guarantees and direct lending to facilitate export sector growth, although these services are underused. NEXIM’s Foreign Input Facility provides normal commercial terms for the importation of machinery and raw materials used for generating exports. Repayment terms are typically up to seven years, including a moratorium period of up to two years depending on the loan amount and the project being finance. Agencies created to promote industrial exports remain burdened by uneven management, vaguely defined policy guidelines, and corruption. The NIPC states that up to 120 percent of expenses on research and development (R&D) are tax deductible, provided that such R&D activities are carried out in Nigeria and relate to the business from which income or profits are derived. Also, for the purpose of R&D on local raw materials, 140 percent of expenses are allowed. Long-term research will be regarded as a capital expenditure and written off against profit. Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation The Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) allows duty-free import of all equipment and raw materials into its export processing zones. Up to 100 percent of production in an export processing zone may be sold domestically based on valid permits and upon payment of applicable duties. Investors in the zones are exempt from foreign exchange regulations and taxes and may freely repatriate capital. The Nigerian government also encourages private sector participation and partnership with state and local governments under the free trade zones (FTZ) program, resulting in the establishment of the Lekki FTZ (owned by Lagos State), and the Olokola FTZ (which straddles Ogun and Ondo States and is owned by those two states, the federal government, and private oil companies). Workers in FTZs may unionize but may not strike for an initial ten-year period. Nigeria ratified the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in 2016 and the Agreement entered into force in 2017. Nigeria already implements items in Category A under the TFA and has identified, but not yet implemented, its Category B and C commitments. In 2016, Nigeria requested additional technical assistance to implement and enforce its Category C commitments. (See https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tradfa_e/tradfa_e.htm ) Performance and Data Localization Requirements Foreign investors must register with the NIPC, incorporate as a limited liability company (private or public) with the CAC, procure appropriate business permits, and register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (when applicable) to conduct business in Nigeria. Manufacturing companies sometimes must meet local content requirements. Long-term expatriate personnel do not require work permits but are subject to needs quotas requiring them to obtain residence permits that allow salary remittances abroad. Expatriates looking to work in Nigeria on a short-term basis can either request a temporary work permit, which is usually granted for a two-month period and extendable to six months, or a business visa, if only traveling to Nigeria for the purpose of meetings, conferences, seminars, trainings, or other brief business activities. Authorities permit larger quotas for professions deemed in short supply, such as deep-water oilfield divers. U.S. companies often report problems in obtaining quota permits. The Nigerian government’s Immigration Regulations 2017 introduced additional means by which foreigners can obtain residence in Nigeria. Foreign nationals who have imported an annual minimum threshold of capital over a certain period may be issued a permanent residence permit, if the investment is not withdrawn. The Nigerian Oil and Gas Content Development Act, 2010 restricts the number of expatriate managers to five percent of the total number of personnel for companies in the oil and gas sector. The National Office of Industrial Property Act of 1979 established the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) to regulate the international acquisition of technology while creating an environment conducive to developing local technology. NOTAP recommends local technical partners to Nigerian users in a bid to reduce the level of imported technology, which currently accounts for over 90 percent of technology in use in Nigeria. NOTAP reviews the Technology Transfer Agreements (TTAs) required to import technology into Nigeria and for companies operating in Nigeria to access foreign currency. NOTAP reviews three major aspects prior to approval of TTAs and subsequent issuance of a certificate: Legal – ensuring that the clauses in the agreement are in accordance with Nigerian laws and legal frameworks within which NOTAP operates; Economic – ensuring prices are fair for the technology offered; and Technical – ensuring transfer of technical knowledge. U.S. firms complain that the approval process for TTAs is lengthy and can routinely take three months or more. NOTAP took steps to automate the TTA process to reduce processing time to one month or less; however, from the date of filing the application to the issuance of confirmation of reasonableness, TTA processing still requires 60 business days. https://notap.gov.ng/sites/default/files/stages_involved.pdf . The Nigerian Oil and Gas Content Development Act of 2010 has technology-transfer requirements that may violate a company’s intellectual property rights. The Guidelines for Nigerian Content Development in the ICT sector issued by the NITDA in 2013, require ICT companies to host all consumer and subscriber data locally to ensure the security of government data and promote development of the ICT sector by mandating all government ministries, departments, and agencies to source and procure software from only local and indigenous software development companies. Enforcement of the guidelines is largely absent as the Nigerian government lacks capacity and resources to monitor digital data flows. Federal government data is hosted locally in data centers that meet international standards. In 2019, NITDA updated the 2013 Guidelines for Data Protection (https://nitda.gov.ng/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Nigeria%20Data%20Protection%20Regulation.pdf ) and rolled out the regulatory framework for providers of public internet access services such that only registered, verified and vetted providers can provide public internet access service in Nigeria. The NCS and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) exercise exclusive jurisdiction over customs services and port operations respectively. Nigerian law allows importers to clear goods on their own, but most importers employ clearing and forwarding agents to minimize tariffs and lower landed costs. Others ship their goods to ports in neighboring countries, primarily Benin, after which they transport overland legally or smuggle into the country. The Nigerian government began closing land borders to trade in August 2019, reportedly to stem the tide of smuggled goods entering from neighboring countries and has not reopened borders as this year’s report. The Nigerian government implements a destination inspection scheme whereby all inspections occur upon arrival into Nigeria, rather than at the ports of origin. In 2013, the NCS regained the authority to conduct destination inspections, which had previously been contracted to private companies. NCS also introduced the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS) platform and an online system for filing customs documentation via a Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) process. The NCS still carries out 100 percent cargo examinations, and shipments take more than 20 days to clear through the process. Shippers report that efforts to modernize and professionalize the NCS and the NPA have largely been unsuccessful – port congestion persists and clearance times are long. A presidential directive in 2017 for the Apapa Port, which handles over 40 percent of Nigeria’s legal trade, to run a 24-hour operation and achieve 48-hour cargo clearance is not effective. The port is congested, inefficient and the proliferation of customs units incentivizes corruption from official and unofficial middlemen who complicate and extend the clearance process. Freight forwarders usually resort to bribery of customs agents and port officials to avoid long delays clearing imported goods through the NPA and NCS. Other ports face logistical and security challenges leaving most operating well below capacity. Nigeria does not currently have a true deep-sea port although one is under construction near Lagos but not expected to be finished before 2021. Smuggled goods routinely enter Nigeria’s seaports and cross its land borders. Investors sometimes encounter difficulties acquiring entry visas and residency permits. Foreigners must obtain entry visas from Nigerian embassies or consulates abroad, seek expatriate position authorization from the NIPC, and request residency permits from the Nigerian Immigration Service. In 2018, Nigeria instituted a visa-on-arrival system, which works relatively well, but still requires lengthy processing at an embassy or consulate abroad before an authorization is issued. Some U.S. businesses have reported being solicited for bribes in the visa-on-arrival program. Visa-on-arrival is not valid for employment or residence. Investors report that the residency permit process is cumbersome and can take from two to 24 months and cost USD 1,000 to USD 3,000 in facilitation fees. The Nigerian government announced a visa rule in 2011 to encourage foreign investment, under which legitimate investors can obtain multiple-entry visas at points of entry. Obtaining a visa prior to traveling to Nigeria is strongly encouraged. 5. Protection of Property Rights Real Property The Nigerian government recognizes secured interests in property, such as mortgages. The recording of security instruments and their enforcement remain subject to the same inefficiencies as those in the judicial system. In the World Bank Doing Business 2020 Report, Nigeria ranked 183 out of the 190 countries surveyed for registering property, a decline of one point over its 2019 ranking. Property registration in Lagos required an average of 12 steps over 105 days at a cost of 11.1 percent of the property value while in Kano registering property averages 11 steps over 47 days at a cost of 11.8 percent of the property value. Fee simple property rights remain rare. Owners transfer most property through long-term leases, with certificates of occupancy acting as title deeds. Property transfers are complex and must usually go through state governors’ offices, as state governments have jurisdiction over land ownership. Authorities have often compelled owners to demolish buildings, including government buildings, commercial buildings, residences, and churches, even in the face of court injunctions. Acquiring and maintaining rights to real property can be problematic. Clarity of title and registration of land ownership remain significant challenges throughout rural Nigeria, where many smallholder farmers have only ancestral or traditional use claims to their land. Nigeria’s land reforms have attempted to address this barrier to development but with limited success. Intellectual Property Rights Nigeria’s legal and institutional infrastructure for protecting intellectual property rights (IPR) remains in need of further development and more funding, even though there are laws on the books for enforcing most IPR. The areas in which the legislation is deficient include online piracy, geographical indications, and plant and animal breeders’ rights. A bill to establish the industrial property commission to take over the functions of registration of trademarks, patents, designs, plant varieties, animal breeders and farmers’ rights, and supervise the new registries created under the industrial property act has been in the works since 2016. No new IPR legislation has been enacted. Copyright protection in Nigeria is governed by the Copyright Act of 1988, as amended in 1992 and 1999, which provides an adequate basis for enforcing copyright and combating piracy. The Nigerian Copyright Commission, a division of the Ministry of Justice, administers the Act. The International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC) has long noted that the Copyright Act should be amended to provide stiffer penalties for violators. Nigeria is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and in 2017 passed legislation to ratify two WIPO treaties that it signed in 1997: the Copyright Treaty and the Performances and Phonograms Treaty. These treaties address important digital communication and broadcast issues that have become increasingly relevant in the 18 years since Nigeria signed them. The Draft Copyright Bill in 2016 was revised to bring it into compliance with these two treaties and sent to the National Assembly in 2017, but it was never enacted. In 2013, he Ministry of Communication Technology (MCT) issued local content guidelines (Guidelines for Nigerian Content Development in Information and Communications Technology) that raised IPR concerns. Among other issues, there is concern about the future ability of the Nigerian government to protect data and trade secrets because of the localization processes requiring the disclosure of source code and other sensitive design elements as a condition of doing business. The ICT industry in Nigeria has pushed back strongly against several of the measures in those guidelines, which remain in effect but have not been fully enforced. While the NITDA does not currently require in-country product manufacturing due to the difficult business environment in Nigeria, it has noted that it would continue to press for local ICT capacity building programs. Violations of Nigerian IPR laws continue to be widespread largely due to a culture of inadequate enforcement. That culture stems from several factors, including insufficient resources among enforcement agencies, lack of political will and focus on IPR, porous borders, entrenched trafficking systems that make enforcement difficult (and sometimes dangerous), and corruption. The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has primary responsibility for copyright enforcement but is widely viewed as understaffed and underfunded relative to the magnitude of the IPR challenge in Nigeria. Nevertheless, the NCC continues to carry out enforcement actions on a regular basis. According to its report for 2018, the NCC conducted five anti-piracy operations and seized 288 copyrighted works, including DVDs, books, MP3s, and software. Anti-piracy operations in 2018 led to seven arrests. The NCS has general authority to seize and destroy contraband. Under current law, copyrighted works require a notice issued by the rights owner to Customs to treat such works as infringing, but implementing procedures have not been developed and this procedure is handled on a case- by-case basis between the NCS and the NCC. Once seizures are made, the NCS invites the NCC to inspect and subsequently take delivery of the consignment of fake goods for purposes of further investigation because the NCC has the statutory responsibility to investigate and prosecute copyright violations. The NCC bears the costs of moving and storing infringing goods. If, after investigations, any persons are identified with the infringing materials, a decision to prosecute may be made. Where no persons are identified or could be traced, the NCC may obtain an order of court to enable it to destroy such works. The NCC works in cooperation with rights owners’ associations and stakeholders in the copyright industries on such matters. Nigeria is not listed in the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Special 301Report or the Notorious Markets List. For additional information about treaty obligations and points of contact at local IP offices, please see the WIPO country profiles at http://www.wipo.int/directory/en/ . 6. Financial Sector Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment The NIPC Act of 1995 liberalized Nigeria’s foreign investment regime, which has facilitated access to credit from domestic financial institutions. Foreign investors who have incorporated their companies in Nigeria have equal access to all financial instruments. Some investors consider the capital market, specifically the Nigerian Stock Exchange, a financing option, given commercial banks’ high interest rates and the short maturities of local debt instruments. The Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) was reflective of the sluggishness in the larger economy in 2019 as it posted a negative return of -14.6 percent to close the year with its All Share Index at 26,842.07. The poor performance was mostly attributed to government regulatory uncertainty and the 2019 presidential elections. However, the equity market capitalization increased by 11 percent to USD 36.0 billion from USD 32.5 billion in 2018, largely due to the notable listings of telecom companies MTN Nigeria Communications Plc and Airtel Africa which had been long awaited. As of December 2019 the NSE had 164 listed companies. The total number of securities listed increased by 26 percent to 361 from 286 securities in 2018, largely due to a growth in government bonds. The Nigerian government has considered requiring companies in certain sectors such as telecoms, oil and gas, or over a certain size to list on the NSE as a means to encourage greater corporate participation and sectoral balance in the Nigerian Stock Exchange, but those proposals have not been enacted to date. The Government employs debt instruments, issuing bonds of various maturities ranging from two to 20 years. Nigeria has issued bonds to restructure the government’s domestic debt portfolio from short- to medium- and long-term instruments. Some state governments have issued bonds to finance development projects, while some domestic banks have used the bond market to raise additional capital. The Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission has issued stringent guidelines for states wishing to raise funds on capital markets, such as requiring credit assessments conducted by recognized credit rating agencies. Money and Banking System The CBN currently licenses 22 deposit-taking commercial banks in Nigeria. Following a 2009 banking crisis, CBN officials intervened in eight of 24 commercial banks (roughly one-third of the system by assets) due to insolvency or serious undercapitalization. At the same time, it established the government-owned Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) to address bank balance sheet disequilibria via discounted purchases of non-performing loans. The Nigerian banking sector emerged stronger from the crisis thanks to AMCON and a number of other reforms undertaken by the CBN, including the adoption of uniform year-end International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) to increase transparency, a stronger emphasis on risk management and corporate governance, and the nationalization of three distressed banks. In 2013, the CBN introduced a stricter supervision framework for the country’s top banks, identified as “Systemically Important Banks” (SIBs) as they account for more than 70 percent of the industry’s total assets, loans and deposits, and their failure or collapse could disrupt the entire financial system and the country’s real economy. These banks are: First Bank of Nigeria, United Bank for Africa, Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Ecobank Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank, and Polaris Bank. Under the new supervision framework, the operations of SIBs are closely monitored with regulatory authorities conducting stress tests on the SIBs’ capital and liquidity adequacy. Moreover, SIBs are required to maintain a higher minimum capital adequacy ratio of 15 percent. In September 2018, the CBN revoked the operating license of one of the SIBs, due to the deterioration of its share capital and its board’s failure to recapitalize the bank, making it the fourth bank to be nationalized. The CBN reported that total deposits increased by N2.34tn or 10.7 percent and aggregate credit grew by N2.2tn or 14.5 percent by December 2019. Non-performing loans (NPLs) declined to 6.1 percent in December, 2019 from 14.2 percent in 2018. However, NPLs are expected to rise following the CBN’s directive to banks to increase their loan to deposit ratio to 6 percent or be penalized. This has forced several banks to grant more credits, many of which may result in default. Nigerian government and private sector analysts assess that the volume of NPLs may be higher than these figures, owing in part to banks not reporting non-performing insider loans made to banks’ owners and directors. The CBN supports non-interest banking. Several banks have established Islamic banking operations in Nigeria including Jaiz Bank International Plc, Nigeria’s first full-fledged non-interest bank, which commenced operations in 2012. A second non-interest bank, Taj Bank, started operations in December 2019. There are five licensed merchant banks: Coronation Merchant Bank Limited, FBN Merchant Bank, FSDH Merchant Bank Ltd, NOVA Merchant Bank, and Rand Merchant Bank Nigeria Limited. The CBN has issued regulations for foreign banks regarding mergers with or acquisitions of existing local banks in the country. Foreign institutions’ aggregate investment must not be more than 10 percent of the latter’s total capital. Foreign Exchange and Remittances Foreign Exchange Foreign currency for most transactions is procured through local banks in the inter-bank market. Low value foreign exchange may also be procured at a premium from foreign exchange bureaus, called Bureaus de Change. Domestic and foreign businesses have frequently expressed strong concern about the CBN’s foreign exchange restrictions, which they report prevent them from importing needed equipment and goods and from repatriating naira earnings. Foreign exchange demand remains high because of the dependence on foreign inputs for manufacturing and refined petroleum products. In 2015, the CBN published a list of 41 product categories which could no longer be imported using official foreign exchange channels; the number of categories has since been increased to 44. Affected businesses (American and Nigerian) have complained publicly and privately that the policy in effect bans the import of some 700 individual items and severely hampers their ability to source inputs and raw materials. In February 2019, the Governor of the Central Bank commented that the Bank is currently considering adding more items to the list and bringing the number as high as 50 items. https://www.cbn.gov.ng/out/2015/ted/ted.fem.fpc.gen.01.011.pdf In 2017, the CBN began providing more foreign exchange to the interbank market via wholesale and retail forward contract auctions in order to meet some of the demand that had been forced to the parallel market. The CBN also established the “investors and exporters” window in 2017, which allows trade to occur at prevailing market rates (around 360 naira to the dollar in December 2019). In March 2020, the CBN announced it had collapsed its multiple exchange rate policy following a currency adjustment such that the investor and exporters window rate was increased to 380 naira to the dollar, and government transactions are now contracted at approximately 360 naira to the dollar. Remittance Policies The NIPC guarantees investors unrestricted transfer of dividends abroad (net a 10 percent withholding tax). Companies must provide evidence of income earned and taxes paid before repatriating dividends from Nigeria. Money transfers usually take no more than 48 hours. In 2015, the CBN implemented restrictions on foreign exchange remittances. All such transfers must occur through banks. Such remittances may take several weeks depending on the size of the transfer and the availability of foreign exchange at the remitting bank. Transfers of currency are protected by Article VII of the International Monetary Fund Articles of Agreement (http://www.imf.org/External/Pubs/FT/AA/index.htm#art7 ). Sovereign Wealth Funds The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) manages Nigeria’s sovereign wealth fund. It was created by the NSIA Act in 2011 and began operations in October 2012 with USD 1 billion seed capital and received an additional USD 500 million in 2017. In its most recent annual report, the total assets being managed by NSIA, increased to N617.7 billion (USD 2.0 billion) in 2018, an increase of 15.7 percent from 2017. The NSIA also posted total comprehensive income of N44.3 billion (USD 144.9 million) in 2018, a 58.8 percent growth over the 2017 figure of N27.9 billion (USD 91.2 million). http://www.nsia.com.ng/~nsia/sites/default/files/annual-reports/NSIA%20Annual%20Report%202018.pdf It was created to receive, manage, and grow a diversified portfolio that will eventually replace government revenue currently drawn from non-renewable resources, primarily hydrocarbons. The NSIA is a public agency that subscribes to the Santiago Principles, which are a set of 24 guidelines that assign “best practices” for the operations of Sovereign Wealth Funds globally. The NSIA invests through three funds: the Future Generations Fund for diversified portfolio of long term growth, the Nigeria Infrastructure Fund for domestic infrastructure development, and the Stabilization Fund to act as a buffer against short-term economic instability. The NSIA does not take an active role in management of companies. The Embassy has not received any report or indication that NSIA activities limit private competition. 7. State-Owned Enterprises The Nigerian government does not have an established practice consistent with the OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance for state-owned enterprises (SOEs), but SOEs do have enabling legislation that governs their ownership. To legalize the existence of state-owned enterprises, provisions have been made in the Nigerian constitution under socio-economic development in section 16 (1) of the 1979 and 1999 Constitutions respectively. The government has privatized many former SOEs to encourage more efficient operations, such as state-owned telecommunications company Nigerian Telecommunications and mobile subsidiary Mobile Telecommunications in 2014. Nigeria does not operate a centralized ownership system for its state-owned enterprises. The enabling legislation for each SOE stipulates its ownership and governance structure. The Boards of Directors are usually appointed by the President on the recommendation of the relevant Minister. The Boards operate and are appointed in line with the enabling legislation which usually stipulates the criteria for appointing Board members. Directors are appointed by the Board within the relevant sector. In a few cases, however, appointments have been viewed as a reward to political affiliates. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is Nigeria’s most prominent state-owned enterprise. NNPC Board appointments are made by the presidency, but day-to-day management is overseen by the Group Managing Director (GMD). The GMD reports to the Minister of Petroleum. In the current administration the President has retained that ministerial role for himself, and the appointed Minister of State for Petroleum acts as the de facto Minister of Petroleum in the President’s stead. The National Assembly passed a Petroleum Industry Governance Bill in March 2018, but the President sent it back to the National Assembly requesting amendments. The bill would clarify regulatory, policy, and operational roles in the petroleum sector and pave the way for partial privatization of NNPC. NNPC is Nigeria’s biggest and arguably most important state-owned enterprise and is responsible for exploration, refining, petrochemicals, products transportation, and marketing. It owns and operates Nigeria’s four refineries (one each in Warri and Kaduna and two in Port Harcourt), all of which operate far below capacity, if at all. Nigeria’s tax agency receives taxes on petroleum profits and other hydrocarbon-related levies, while the Department of Petroleum Resources under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources collects rents, royalties, license fees, bonuses, and other payments. In an effort to provide greater transparency in the collection of revenues that accrue to the government, the Buhari administration requires these revenues, including some from the NNPC, to be deposited in the Treasury Single Account. Another key state-owned enterprise is the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), responsible for the operation of Nigeria’s national electrical grid. Private power generation and distribution companies have accused the TCN grid of significant inefficiency and inadequate technology which greatly hinder the nation’s electricity output and supply. TCN emerged from the defunct National Electric Power Authority as an incorporated entity in 2005. It is the only major component of Nigeria’s electric power sector, which was not privatized in 2013. Privatization Program The Privatization and Commercialization Act of 1999 established the National Council on Privatization, the policy-making body overseeing the privatization of state-owned enterprises, and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the implementing agency for designated privatizations. The BPE has focused on the privatization of key sectors, including telecommunications and power, and calls for core investors to acquire controlling shares in formerly state-owned enterprises. The BPE has privatized and concessioned more than 140 enterprises since 1999, including an aluminum complex, a steel complex, cement manufacturing firms, hotels, a petrochemical plant, aviation cargo handling companies, vehicle assembly plants, and electricity generation and distribution companies. The electricity transmission company remains state-owned. Foreign investors can and do participate in BPE’s privatization process. The BPE also retains partial ownership in some of the privatized companies. (It holds a 40 percent stake in the power distribution companies.) The National Assembly has questioned the propriety of some of these privatizations, with one ongoing case related to an aluminum complex privatization the subject of a Supreme Court ruling on ownership. In addition, the failure of the 2013 power sector privatization to restore financial viability to the sector has raised criticism of the privatized power generation and distribution companies. Nevertheless, the government’s long-delayed sale in 2014 of state-owned Nigerian Telecommunications and Mobile Telecommunications shows a continued commitment to the privatization model. 8. Responsible Business Conduct There is no specific Responsible Business Conduct law in Nigeria. Several legislative acts incorporate within their provisions certain expectations that directly or indirectly regulate the observance or practice of corporate social responsibility. In order to reinforce responsible behavior, various laws have been put in place for the protection of the environment. These laws stipulate criminal sanctions for non-compliance. There are also regulating agencies which exist to protect the rights of consumers. While the Nigerian government has no specific action plan regarding OECD Responsible Business Conduct guidelines, most government procurements are done transparently and in line with the Public Procurement Act which stipulates advertisement and a transparent bidding process. Nigeria participates in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and is an EITI compliant country. Specifically, in February 2019 the EITI Board determined that Nigeria had made satisfactory progress overall with implementing the EITI Standard after having fully addressed the corrective actions from the country’s first Validation in 2017. The next EITI Validation study of Nigeria will occur in 2022. The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), an arm of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, also ensures comprehensive standards and guidelines to direct the execution of projects with proper consideration for the environment. The DPR Environmental Guidelines and Standards of 1991 for the petroleum industry is a comprehensive working document with serious consideration for the preservation and protection of the Niger Delta. The Nigerian government provides oversight of competition, consumer rights, and environmental protection issues. The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, the Standards Organization of Nigeria, and other entities have the authority to impose fines and ensure the destruction of harmful substances that otherwise may have sold to the general public. The main regulators and enforcers of corporate governance are the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Corporate Affairs Commission (which register all incorporated companies). Nigeria has adopted multiple reforms on corporate governance. Environmental pollution by multinational oil companies has resulted in fines being imposed locally while some cases have been pursued in foreign jurisdictions resulting in judgments being granted in favor of the oil producing communities. The Companies Allied Matter Act 1990 and the Investment Securities Act provide basic guidelines on company listing. More detailed regulations are covered in the Nigeria Stock Exchange Listing rules. Publicly listed companies are expected to disclose indicate their level of compliance with the Code of Corporate Governance in their Annual Financial Reports. 9. Corruption Foreign companies, whether incorporated in Nigeria or not, may bid on government projects and generally receive national treatment in government procurement, but may also be subject to a local content vehicle (e.g., partnership with a local partner firm or the inclusion of one in a consortium) or other prerequisites which are likely to vary from tender to tender. Corruption and lack of transparency in tender processes has been a far greater concern to U.S. companies than discriminatory policies based on foreign status. Government tenders are published in local newspapers, a “tenders” journal sold at local newspaper outlets, and occasionally in foreign journals and magazines. The Nigerian government has made modest progress on its pledge to conduct open and competitive bidding processes for government procurement with the introduction of the Nigeria Open Contracting Portal in 2017 under the Bureau of Public Procurement. The Public Procurement Law of 2007 established the Bureau of Public Procurement as the successor agency to the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit. It acts as a clearinghouse for government contracts and procurement and monitors the implementation of projects to ensure compliance with contract terms and budgetary restrictions. Procurements above 100 million naira (about USD 277,550) reportedly undergo full “due process,” but government agencies routinely flout public procurement requirements. Some of the 36 states of the federation have also passed public procurement legislation. The reforms have also improved transparency in procurement by the state-owned NNPC. Although U.S. companies have won contracts in numerous sectors, difficulties in receiving payment are not uncommon and can deter firms from bidding. Supplier or foreign government subsidized financing arrangements appear in some cases to be a crucial factor in the award of government procurements. Nigeria is not a signatory to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement. In 2016, Nigeria announced its participation in the Open Government Partnership, a potentially significant step forward on public financial management and fiscal transparency. The Ministry of Justice presented Nigeria’s National Action Plan for the Open Government Partnership. Implementation of its 14 commitments has made some progress, particularly on the issues such as tax transparency, ease of doing business, and asset recovery. The National Action Plan, which ran through 2019, covered five major themes: ensuring citizens’ participation in the budget cycle, implementing open contracting and adoption of open contracting data standards, increasing transparency in the extractive sectors, adopting common reporting standards like the Addis Tax initiative, and improving the ease of doing business. Full implementation of the National Action Plan would be a significant step forward for Nigeria’s fiscal transparency, although Nigeria has not fully completed any commitment to date. Businesses report that bribery of customs and port officials remains common and often necessary to avoid extended delays in the port clearance process, and that smuggled goods routinely enter Nigeria’s seaports and cross its land borders. Domestic and foreign observers identify corruption as a serious obstacle to economic growth and poverty reduction. Nigeria scored 26 out of 100 in Transparency International’s 2019 Corruption Perception Index, with an overall ranking of 146 out of the 180 countries, a two-point drop since 2018. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Establishment Act of 2004 established the EFCC to prosecute individuals involved in financial crimes and other acts of economic “sabotage.” Traditionally, the EFCC has achieved the most success in prosecuting low-level Internet scam operators. A relative few high-profile convictions have taken place, such as a former governor of Adamawa State, a former governor of Bayelsa State, a former Inspector General of Police, and a former Chair of the Board of the Nigerian Port Authority. However, in the case of the convicted governor of Bayelsa State, the President of Nigeria pardoned him in 2013. The case of the former governor of Adamawa, who was convicted in 2017, is under appeal, and he is currently free on bail. Since taking office in 2015, President Buhari has focused on implementing a campaign pledge to address corruption, though his critics contend his anti-corruption efforts often target political rivals. Since then, the EFCC arrested a former National Security Advisor (NSA), a former Minister of State for Finance, a former NSA Director of Finance and Administration, and others on charges related to diversion of funds intended for government arms procurement. The Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act of 2001 established an Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to prosecute individuals, government officials, and businesses for corruption. The Corrupt Practices Act punishes over 19 offenses, including accepting or giving bribes, fraudulent acquisition of property, and concealment of fraud. Nigerian law stipulates that giving and receiving bribes constitute criminal offences and, as such, are not tax deductible. Since its inauguration, the ICPC has secured convictions in 71 cases (through 2015, latest data available) with nearly 300 cases still open and pending as of July 2018. In 2014, a presidential committee set up to review Nigeria’s ministries, departments, and agencies recommended that the EFCC, the ICPC, and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) be merged into one organization. The federal government, however, rejected this proposal to consolidate the work of these three anti-graft agencies. Nigeria gained admittance into the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units in 2007. In July 2017 the Egmont Group suspended Nigeria due to concerns about the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit’s operational autonomy and ability to protect classified information. It lifted the suspension in September 2018 due to the Nigerian government’s efforts to address the Egmont Group’s concerns, through the passage of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency Act in July 2018. The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) removed Nigeria from its list of Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories in 2006. In 2013, the FATF decided that Nigeria had substantially addressed the technical requirements of its FATF Action Plan and agreed to remove Nigeria from its monitoring process conducted by FATF’s International Cooperation Review Group. Nigeria, as a member of the Inter-governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa, is an associated member of FATF. The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Act of 2007 provided for the establishment of the NEITI organization, charged with developing a framework for transparency and accountability in the reporting and disclosure by all extractive industry companies of revenue due to or paid to the Nigerian government. NEITI serves as a member of the international Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which provides a global standard for revenue transparency for extractive industries like oil and gas and mining. Nigeria is party to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. Nigeria is not a member of the OECD and not party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery. Resources to Report Corruption Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Headquarters: No. 5, Fomella Street, Off Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja, Nigeria. Branch offices in Ikoyi, Lagos State; Port Harcourt, Rivers State; Independence Layout, Enugu State; Kano, Kano State; Gombe, Gombe State. Hotline: +234 9 9044752 or +234 9 9044753 Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission: Abuja Office – Headquarters Plot 802 Constitution Avenue, Central District, PMB 535, Garki Abuja Phone/Fax: 234 9 523 8810 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 10. Political and Security Environment Political, religious, and ethnic violence continue to affect Nigeria. The Islamist group Jama’atu Ahl as-Sunnah li-Da’awati wal-Jihad, popularly known as Boko Haram, and the ISIS-WA have waged a violent campaign to destabilize the Nigerian government, killing tens of thousands of people, forcing over two million to flee to other areas of Nigeria or into neighboring countries, and leaving more than seven million people in need of humanitarian assistance in the country’s northeast. Boko Haram has targeted markets, churches, mosques, government installations, educational institutions, and leisure sites with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and suicide vehicle-borne IEDs across nine northern states and in Abuja. In 2017, Boko Haram employed hundreds of suicide bombings against the local population. Women and children were forced to carry out many of the attacks. There were multiple reports of Boko Haram killing entire villages suspected of cooperating with the government. ISIS-WA targeted civilians with attacks or kidnappings less frequently than Boko Haram. ISIS-WA employed targeted acts of violence and intimidation against civilians in order to expand its area of influence and gain control over critical economic resources. As part of a violent and deliberate campaign, ISIS-WA also targeted government figures, traditional leaders, and contractors. President Buhari has focused on matters of insecurity in Nigeria and in neighboring countries. While the two insurgencies maintain the ability to stage forces in rural areas and launch attacks against civilian and military targets across the northeast, Nigeria is also facing rural violence in the Nigeria’s north-central states caused by criminal actors and by conflicts between migratory pastoralist and farming communities, often over scarce resources. Another major trend is the rise in kidnappings for ransom and attacks on villages by armed gangs. Due to challenging security dynamics throughout the country, the U.S. Mission to Nigeria has significantly limited official travel in the northeast and travel to other parts of Nigeria requires security precautions. Decades of neglect, persistent poverty, and environmental damage caused by oil spills have left Nigeria’s oil rich Niger Delta region vulnerable to renewed violence. Though each oil-producing state receives a 13 percent derivation of the oil revenue produced within its borders, and several government agencies, including the Niger Delta Development Corporation (NDDC) and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, are tasked with implementing development projects, bureaucratic mismanagement and corruption have prevented these investments from yielding meaningful economic and social development in the region. Niger Delta militants have demonstrated their ability to attack and severely damage oil instillations at will as seen when they cut Nigeria’s production by more than half in 2016. Attacks on oil installations have since decreased due to a revamped amnesty program and continuous high-level engagement with the region. Other security challenges facing Nigeria include thousands of refugees fleeing to Nigeria from Cameroon’s English-speaking region due to tensions there and kidnappings for ransom. 11. Labor Policies and Practices Nigeria’s skilled labor pool has declined over the past decade due to inadequate educational systems, limited employment opportunities, and the migration of educated Nigerians to other countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and South Africa. The low employment capacity of Nigeria’s formal sector means that almost three-quarters of all Nigerians work in the informal and agricultural sectors or are unemployed. Companies involved in formal sector businesses, such as banking and insurance, possess an adequately skilled workforce. Manufacturing and construction sector workers often require on-the-job training. The result is that while individual wages are low, individual productivity is also low, which means overall labor costs can be high. The Buhari Administration is pushing reforms in the education sector to improve the supply of skilled workers but this and other efforts run by state governments are in their initial stages. Labor organizations in Nigeria remain politically active and are prone to call for strikes on a regular basis against the national and state governments. While most labor actions are peaceful, difficult economic conditions fuel the risk that these actions could become violent. Nigeria’s constitution guarantees the rights of free assembly and association, and protects workers’ rights to form or belong to trade unions. Several statutory laws, nonetheless, restrict the rights of workers to associate or disassociate with labor organizations. Nigerian unions belong to one of three trade union federations: the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC), which tends to represent junior (i.e., blue collar) workers; the United Labor Congress of Nigeria (ULC), which represents a group of unions that separated from the NLC in 2015; and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), which represents the “senior” (i.e., white collar) workers. According to figures provided by the Ministry of Labor and Employment, total union membership stands at roughly 7 million. A majority of these union members work in the public sector, although unions exist across the private sector. The Trade Union Amendment Act of 2005 allowed non-management senior staff to join unions. Collective bargaining occurred throughout the public sector and the organized private sector in 2019. However, public sector employees have become increasingly concerned about the Nigerian governments’ and state governments’ failure to honor previous agreements from the collective bargaining process. Collective bargaining in the oil and gas industry is relatively efficient compared to other sectors. Issues pertaining to salaries, benefits, health and safety, and working conditions tend to be resolved quickly through negotiations. Workers under collective bargaining agreements cannot participate in strikes unless their unions comply with the requirements of the law, which includes provisions for mandatory mediation and referral of disputes to the Nigerian government. Despite these restrictions on staging strikes, unions occasionally conduct strikes in the private and public sectors without warning. Localized strikes occurred in the education, government, energy, power, and healthcare sectors in 2019. The law forbids employers from granting general wage increases to workers without prior government approval, but the law is not often enforced. Despite widespread opposition from state governors, in April 2019, President Buhari signed into law a new minimum wage, increasing it from 18,000 naira (USD 50) to 30,000 naira (USD 83) per month. After months of negotiations, the government finally reached an agreement with organized labor in October 2019 on the consequential adjustments in civil servants’ salaries that must be implemented across the board to apply the new minimum wage. While the VAT rate was recently raised from 5.5 to 7.5 percent to help fund the increased minimum wage, it will not be enough to offset the cost of the adjustments. This, in turn, means that the government will need to borrow more money, which will not only increase the debt burden but open it to criticism that that money should be used for critical infrastructure projects rather than civil servant salaries. The Nigerian Minister of Labor and Employment may refer unresolved disputes to the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) and the National Industrial Court (NIC). In 2015, the NIC launched an Alternative Dispute Resolution Center. Union officials question the effectiveness and independence of the NIC, believing it unable to resolve disputes stemming from Nigerian government failure to fulfill contract provisions for public sector employees. Union leaders criticize the arbitration system’s dependence on the Minister of Labor and Employment’s referrals to the IAP. Nigeria’s laws regarding minimum age for child labor and hazardous work are inconsistent. Article 59 of the Labor Act of 1974 sets the minimum age of employment at 12, and it is in force in all 36 states of Nigeria. The Act also permits children of any age to do light work alongside a family member in agriculture, horticulture, or domestic service. The Federal 2003 Child Rights Act (CRA) codifies the rights of children in Nigeria and must be ratified by each State to become law in its territory. To date, 25 states and the FCT have ratified the CRA, with all 11 of the remaining states located in northern Nigeria. The CRA states that the provisions related to young people in the Labor Act apply to children under the CRA, but also that the CRA supersedes any other legislation related to children. The CRA restricts children under the age of 18 from any work aside from light work for family members; however, Article 59 of the Labor Act applies these restrictions only to children under the age of 12. This language makes it unclear what minimum ages apply for certain types of work in the country. While the Labor Act forbids the employment of youth under age 18 in work that is dangerous to their health, safety, or morals, it allows children to participate in certain types of work that may be dangerous by setting different age thresholds for various activities. For example, the Labor Act allows children age 16 and older to work at night in gold mining and the manufacturing of iron, steel, paper, raw sugar, and glass. Furthermore, the Labor Act does not extend to children employed in domestic service. Thus, children are vulnerable to dangerous work in industrial undertakings, underground, with machines, and in domestic service. In addition, the prohibitions established by the Labor Act and CRA are not comprehensive or specific enough to facilitate enforcement. In 2013, the National Steering Committee (NSC) for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Nigeria validated the Report on the Identification of Hazardous Child Labor in Nigeria. The report has languished with the Ministry of Labor and Employment and still awaits the promulgation of guidelines for operationalizing the report. The Nigerian government adopted the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition), Enforcement, and Administration Act of 2015. While not specifically directed against child labor, many sections of the law support anti-child labor efforts. The Violence against Persons Prohibition Act was signed into law in May 2015 and again while not specifically focused on child labor, it covers related elements such as “depriving a person of his/her liberty,” “forced financial dependence/economic abuse,” and “forced isolation/separation from family and friends” and is applicable to minors. Nigeria’s Labor Act provides for a 40-hour work week, two to four weeks of annual leave, and overtime and holiday pay for all workers except agricultural and domestic workers. No law prohibits compulsory overtime. The Act establishes general health and safety provisions, some of which specifically apply to young or female workers, and requires the Ministry of Labor and Employment to inspect factories for compliance with health and safety standards. Under-funding and limited resources undermine the Ministry’s oversight capacity, and construction sites and other non-factory work sites are often ignored. Nigeria’s labor law requires employers to compensate injured workers and dependent survivors of workers killed in industrial accidents. Draft legislation, such as a new Labor Standards Act which includes provisions on child labor, and an Occupational Safety and Health Act that would regulate hazardous work, have remained under consideration in the National Assembly since 2006. Admission of foreign workers is overseen by the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Employers must seek the consent of the Ministry in order to employ foreign workers by applying for an “expatriate quota.” The quota allows a company to employ foreign nationals in specifically approved job designations as well as specifying the validity period of the designations provided on the quota. There are two types of visas which may be granted, depending on the length of stay. For short-term assignments, an employer must apply for and receive a temporary work permit, allowing the employee to carry out some specific tasks. The temporary work permit is a single-entry visa, and expires after three months. There are no numerical limitations on short-term visas, and foreign nationals who meet the conditions for grant of a visa may apply for as many short-term visas as required. 13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy Host Country Statistical source USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data: BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) N/A N/A 2019 $448 billion www.worldbank.org/en/country Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data: BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2018 $5,630 BEA data available at https://www.bea.gov/international/ direct-investment-and-multinational- enterprises-comprehensive-data Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2018 $75 BEA data available at https://www.bea.gov/international/ direct-investment-and-multinational- enterprises-comprehensive-data Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A 2018 25.1% UNCTAD data available at https://unctad.org/en/Pages/DIAE/ World%20Investment%20Report/ Country-Fact-Sheets.aspx Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions) Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment Total Inward Amount 100% Total Outward Amount 100% Bermuda 15,684 17% Data Not Available The Netherlands 14,185 15% United Kingdom 11,714 13% France 10,913 12% United States 9,058 10% “0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000. Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment Data not available.