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经济学人Foreigners in China face a new tax听力+中英文本

经济学人Foreigners in China face a new tax听力+中英文本

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ForeignersinChinafaceanewtax中国的外籍员工面临新税款Sep24th2011|fromtheprinteditionTHEcostofexpatriatelabourinChinamaybeabouttosoar,butexpatriatesthemselvesmayreapfewofthebenefits,itappears.Chineseoff ...
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Foreigners in China face a new tax
中国的外籍员工面临新税款

Sep 24th 2011 | from the print edition

THE cost of expatriate labour in China may be about to soar, but expatriates themselves may reap few of the benefits, it appears. Chinese officials have long hinted that foreign firms and expatriates would eventually be required to pay into the domestic social-security system, but foreign firms were never sure whether they meant it. It seems they did.
Officials have now unveiled some detailed rules, which seem to require foreigners, as of October 15th, to pay into China’s public scheme that provides pensions, health care and unemployment benefits.
The likely costs of the new measures are unknown. It is possible, but not certain, that foreigners will face stiffer taxes than locals. All that is clear, says KPMG, a tax consultancy, is that the law will squeeze both expats and their employers.
This would be a big change. In the past, foreigners have neither contributed to the system nor made much use of it. (Multinational firms typically offer their expats private health insurance and pensions.) Paying into the public scheme should, in theory, mean that foreigners get something back. But in practice, that may be tricky.
Foreigners are unlikely to benefit from unemployment insurance, because if they lose their job they typically lose the right to live in China. The rules suggest that pensions may be portable, but do not say how exactly this will work—and it is difficult for retired foreigners to obtain permanent residency in China.
Health care is even thornier. Suppose the new rules force foreign companies to pay for, and give their employees access to, the local health system. Should they then stop offering international insurance plans, which pay for treatment at the handful of world-class hospitals in China?
Some multinationals may be tempted. But China’s health system, though improving, is still shoddy by rich-world standards and slapdash about protecting patients’ privacy. Hill & Associates, a Hong Kong-based risk consultancy, fears that foreign firms which leave their expats at the mercy of the Chinese health system could face “a significant liability risk”.
The government may soften the new rules a bit. That is what happened with its controversial plan to promote “indigenous innovation”. In July, after an outcry from foreigners, it revoked some of the plan’s most blatantly discriminatory provisions.
Still, the climate for foreign firms in China is starting to feel frosty. Costs are rising; regulations are growing more burdensome. Local competitors are playing rough. Some, like Cosco, a shipping giant, have brazenly tried to renege on contracts. Others have used their political allies to squeeze out foreign partners. One Westerner reveals that two foreign firms on whose boards he serves have recently been forced to leave the country, shedding their assets in fire sales. China is much too big and booming for foreign firms to ignore, and plenty of multinationals are doing splendidly there. But this latest turn of the screw may not be the last.
听力和中文如下:
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外籍员工留在中国的成本可能要上升,但似乎他们本身并没有得到太多好处。中国ZF很久以前就暗示,可能会要求外企及外籍员工向国内的社会保障系统缴纳费用,然而外企从来就不确定他们是不是认真的。如今看来,似乎是的。
官方已经出台了一些详细的政策,这些政策似乎要求外籍员工10月15日向中国市民计划缴纳费用,包括养老金、健康保险以及失业救济金。
新政策所需缴纳的款项还是个未知数。相比本地员工,外籍员工可能(但不一定)要缴纳更多税。“能确定的是,”税务咨询公司KPMG(毕马威,四大会计师事务所之一)说道,“外籍员工及其老板都会受到新法规的压榨。”
这将会是个大转变。过去外籍员工既没有对“市民计划”系统做过什么贡献,也没怎么享受到它带来的好处(一般来说,跨国企业会独自受理其员工的健康保险及养老金)。理论上,缴纳了费用,这些员工也会得到相应的回报。但事实上,他们可能要吃哑巴亏。
外籍员工不可能会享受到失业救济金的好处,因为一旦他们丢了工作,他们也就失去了居住在中国的权利。政策规定养老金可能可以提现,但没有具体说明如何操作——而这些退休老外要在中国获得永久居住权也很困难。
健康保险则更不靠谱。试想,如果新政策强制性要求外企向地方医保系统缴纳保费,而且赋予其员工享受地方医保系统的权利。那他们是否就不再缴纳费用给“国际保险计划”机构?而该机构会为他们支付在中国仅有的几所一流医院的费用。
有些跨国企业可能会有兴趣。不过中国的卫生健康系统,虽然已有所进步,但按照发达国家的标准还是太粗劣,在保护患者隐私方面也很不到位。总部位于香港的风险顾问公司Hill & Associates担心,那些将其员工交给中国卫生健康系统的外企会面临“一个重大的责任风险”。
ZF可能会适当放宽新政策,当时处理“自主创新”这个备受争议的计划的时候,他们就是这样做的。七月份,外籍人士爆发了抗议,为此中国ZF撤消了该政策的一些带有严重歧视性的条款。
然而,驻留中国的外企还是开始觉得受到了冷遇。成本在不断增长,政策法规越来越沉重,本地竞争者也很强硬。像船运巨头中远集团(Cosco)等企业公然试图违约,其它企业则运用其政治纽带来排挤外企。某西方人反映,他曾担任过董事会成员的两个外企最近都被迫离开中国了,其货物则贱价出售。中国这片又广阔又兴盛的肥沃土壤,外企很难对其视而不见,何况很多跨国企业也在此经营得有声有色。然而,新近这些被迫出局的员工可能不是最后一批。[/hide]
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