The mainland has extended import and export rights long cherished by many state-owned enterprises to non-state sectors - including private and foreign businesses. A circular issued by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation (Moftec) last month allowed all qualified businesses to trade all commodities and technology, unless otherwise restricted by the state. The new rules require a business with minimum registered capital of three million yuan (about HK$2.82 million) to register with provincial authorities for the right to import its own equipment and raw material, and export its products. The minimum capital requirement is relaxed to two million yuan in less developed areas, and one million yuan for high-technology firms. Registered capital of at least five million yuan and certification by Moftec are required for other kinds of trading activities. Again, in an attempt to foster trade with the underdeveloped hinterland, the minimum registered capital requirement is reduced to three million yuan in central and western China. The new rules promise a speedy review process. Authorities are required to give a decision on all applications within 10 days of their receipt. The latest move is deemed a pat on the back for non-state-owned enterprises, which accounted for about half of the mainland's exports last year, according to Xinhua. Analysts also see the new rules as a way for the government to oil China's export machine. In the first half of this year, Chinese exports grew 8.8 per cent to US$124.57 billion, compared with 27.8 per cent growth for the whole of last year.