BEIJING– China on Sunday rolled out revised negative lists for foreign investment market access, introducing greater opening-up and allowing foreign investors to run majority-share-controlling or wholly-owned businesses in more sectors.
With the approval of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) released two negative lists of 2019.
The two lists, one for the piloted free trade zones (FTZ) and one for the rest of the country, contain fewer access-limiting measures. Pilot FTZs now have 37 listed items for foreign investors, down from 45, while non-FTZ areas are required to implement 40 items instead of 48.
They will go into effect on July 30, and market access restrictions not on the negative lists will be fully lifted before the end of this year, said an official with the NDRC.
The negative lists for market access outline sectors, fields and businesses off-limits for investors. Industries, fields and businesses not on the lists are open for investment to all market players. Chinese authorities revise the negative lists for market access on an annual basis. The 2018 versions were released last December.
The newly revised negative lists fully demonstrate China’s unswerving determination to expand its opening-up, the official said.
The service sector will see greater opening-up in transport, infrastructure, culture, and value-added telecommunications.
The restriction that domestic shipping agencies must be controlled by the Chinese side will be scrapped. The restriction that gas and heat pipelines in cities with a population of more than 500,000 shall be controlled by the Chinese side will be lifted. The restriction that cinemas and performance brokerage institutions must be controlled by the Chinese side will be rescinded. The restriction on foreign investment in domestic multi-party communications, store-and-forward and call center services will be canceled.
Market access will be eased in agriculture, mining and manufacturing industries.
Prohibition on foreign investment in the exploitation of wildlife resources will be abolished. Restrictions on the exploration and development of petroleum and natural gas are limited to Chinese-foreign equity joint ventures or non-equity joint ventures will be canceled, as well as the prohibition on foreign investment in the exploration and exploitation of molybdenum, tin, antimony and fluorite.
In the manufacturing sector, the ban on foreign investment in the production of Xuan paper and ink ingots will be lifted.
On the basis of nationwide opening-up measures, the 2019 version of the pilot FTZ negative list for foreign investment has lifted restrictions on foreign investment in areas such as aquatic products fishing and publication printing.
The continuous expansion of market access and the introduction of various policies to promote foreign investment have injected new impetus into the development of an open economy, promoted the steady growth of foreign capital inflows and enhanced the long-term confidence of transnational corporations, said an official with the NDRC.
The NDRC and the MOC also released a revised catalog of industries that encourage foreign investment on Sunday.
It is expected to give better play to the positive role of foreign investment in China’s industrial development, technological progress and structural optimization.
China attracted a record high foreign direct investment (FDI) of 138.3 billion U.S. dollars last year, bucking a global trend of FDI slide. In the first five months of this year, the country saw an FDI inflow of 54.6 billion dollars, up 3.7 percent year on year.