LAST_UPDATESun, 24 Jun 2018 9am

China Widens Access To Financial Markets For Foreign Investors

Shanghai Stock ExchangeShanghai Stock Exchange

BEIJING, Nov 10 -- China has specified the measures that will ease or lift foreign investment restrictions in its financial markets, China's Xinhua news agency reported.

Foreign businesses will be allowed to own up to 51 per cent of shares in joint ventures in securities, funds or futures, Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao told a press conference. The cap will be phased out over three years.

Restrictions on investment in Chinese banks and financial asset management companies will be removed, Zhu said, elaborating on the consensus reached by China and the United States at a meeting Thursday.

After three years, foreign investors will be allowed to own up to 51 per cent of shares in joint ventures in life insurance, with the cap removed in five years.

Duty on automobiles will be reduced "at an appropriate pace," and restrictions on foreign investment in special and new energy vehicle manufacture will be eased in free trade zones before next June.

The same value-added tax policy will be applied to domestic and imported distillers' dried grains, which means charges at customs will be removed.

The US side was asked to ease controls on exports of high-tech products, fulfill its obligations under Article 15 of the Protocol on China's Accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), treat Chinese investors fairly in the US market, push forward the license application process of China International Capital Corporation Limited in the United States and be prudent in trade remedy measures.

According to Article 15, WTO members should have stopped using the surrogate country approach on China on Dec 11, 2016.

China has drawn timetables and roadmaps of further opening up soon after a report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China last month made clear that the country will significantly ease market access, according to Zhu.

Citing a WTO principle, Zhu said that although the decision of easing market access to the financial sector for foreign investors was announced during a meeting of Chinese and US state leaders, it applies to all countries.

"As a key WTO member, we firmly support free global trade and the implementation of WTO principles," he said.

US President Donald Trump concluded his three-day state visit to China Friday morning. During his visit, the two sides reached extensive and important consensus on the development of China-US relations.

Chinese and US companies signed deals on 34 cooperation projects worth US$253.5 billion during Trump's China visit.