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Itochu Corp. said Thursday that China has given it approval to operate as a general trading house, which allows it to become the first Japanese trading firm to enter the country.

Itochu obtained “regional headquarters” status through Itochu (China) Group Co., its wholly owned supervisory firm in China. The status enables it to sell products in China freely, import and export goods, and to invest both within and outside the country, it said.

For a foreign business to be approved as a regional headquarters, it must be capitalized at $100 million or more and have at least $30 million in outstanding investment in China.

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