China announces more market opening, to phase out share limits in manufacturing

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Beijing is moving to eliminate share-holding limits in a handful of manufacturing sectors, the top economic planning body said Tuesday.

The policy will be phased in for some sectors as early as this year, Xinhua reported, citing the National Development and Reform Commission’s (NDRC) announcement.

Share-holding limits on special-purpose and new-energy vehicles, shipbuilding processes and airplane production will come off this year, while limits for commercial and passenger vehicles will be scrapped in 2020.

Additionally, a new so-called negative list will finally be unveiled as early as possible in the first half of this year, the NDRC said. Trading partners have for years been clamoring for Beijing to replace a positive list, which enumerates areas where foreign investment is welcome, with a negative list. All sectors would then be presumed as open for investment from abroad unless listed on the negative list.

More opening-up measures will be rolled out along with the negative list, according to the Xinhua report.

China’s big opening-up push garnered cautious optimism among the overseas business community when Xi Jinping spoke at an economic forum earlier this month, but some also bemoaned the lack of specific measures. With reforms trickling out over the past couple of weeks, it is clear that China is determined to rally support against confrontational US trade policy with concrete measures.

“By guiding its manufacturing industry toward a full opening-up, China has demonstrated its stance to fight against trade and investment protectionism and its support for the extensive and in-depth development of economic globalization,” Xinhua quoted the NDRC as saying.

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