TAIPEI has decided to simplify the procedure for Taiwanese listed companies to apply to invest in the mainland, says a government official. The amended rules require listed companies only to procure agreement in principle from stockholders and allow the board of directors to determine plans, subject to approval by the Investment Commission of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), according to vice-Minister of Economic Affairs S.J. Lee. He said the changes did not constitute a liberalisation of policy on Taiwan Strait investment and technology flows, but ''a clarification, simplification and rationalisation of procedures.'' Taiwan law permits local companies to invest in China only through indirect channels and then only if the projects are not harmful to the island's security or economic development. All applications to invest in China must be submitted to the Investment Commission for approval, based on rules on investment and technical co-operation issued by the MOEA on March 1 this year. Mr Lee said that a meeting of officials from the Mainland Affairs Council, the Ministry of Finance, the Council on Agricultural Affairs and the MOEA decided to act on the application procedures. The main change simplifies the applications by companies listed on the Taipei Stock Exchange. Previously, listed companies had to obtain approval from annual stockholders' meetings for any proposed mainland project. Mr Lee noted that ''stockholders meetings are only held once a year. Under the old method, there would be no way to alter investments plans except by waiting for the next meeting''. He said stockholder meetings now must pass a resolution agreeing in principle for management investment plans, approve the products to be invested in and set an upper limit on the amount to be invested. Decisions on detailed investment plans are left to the board of directors of listed companies. After the board of directors agrees to the plans, management must submit the proposed project to the MOEA's Investment Commission for approval. Certification of the decisions by the stockholders meeting and the board of directors must be included in the application, he added. Mr Lee said that the change was necessary ''as management power should reside in the board of directors''. The new procedure is both ''clear and feasible'', he said. The second change in the rules now allows individuals to apply directly to the Investment Commission for approval to invest in the mainland, so long as the projects are not harmful to Taiwan's economy or national security. Previously, there were no provision for individual investors. Chen Ming-bang, executive secretary of the Investment Commission, said that since the rules were announced in March, 101 of more than 300 applications had received approval. He added that many corporate applications had been delayed due to the lack of clarity in the requirement for approval of mainland investment plans by the stockholders meetings of listed companies. Mr Chen added that the Investment Commission would complete by September 20, compilation of data on investment projects submitted by Taiwan firms that already have projects in China.