CHINA is considering removing the official ban on wholesale trade by foreign investors. Vice-Minister for Internal Trade He Jihia yesterday said his ministry had recommended removal of the ban but that the final decision lay with the State Council. A decision should be taken within the next two years. At present, foreign investors are only allowed to set up retail outlets in 11 key cities in joint ventures with the local partners. So far, 11 retail joint ventures have received approval. Only two - the Yansha Friendship Department Store in Beijing and Eastern Department Store in Shanghai - have actually opened their doors. Mr He, in Hong Kong to attend a seminar on investment opportunities on the mainland, said that to improve commodities distribution throughout the country his ministry would this year experiment with chains of stores across the provinces. He said corporations controlled by the ministry's organisation unit would open four or five chains.