China trims 'negative' investment list in show of opening up

BEIJING, Nov 22 (Reuters) - China dropped 20 items on Friday from its nationwide “negative” investment list, smoothing market entry rules in a show of its efforts to improve the business environment amid a slowing economy.

The so-called negative list published by top economic planner the National Development and Reform Commission, specifies industries where activities by investors, domestic or foreign, are either restricted or prohibited.

Industries not on the list are open for investment to all and require no government approval.

The list, first unveiled last year, is different from the negative list for foreign investment issued by the commerce ministry.

Most of the 20 categories removed resulted from reclassification and merging of some items, with businesses in the services sector among the few categories to see curbs truly scrapped.

For example, approval is no longer required to set up elderly care facilities and other social welfare institutions, or to run schools for truck-driving.

The government will further lower barriers to market entry for the services sector in future, the state planner added in its statement.

Pressured by slowing global demand and a bruising trade war with the United States, China’s gross domestic product rose just 6.0% on the year in the third quarter, its slowest pace in nearly 30 years and at the lower end of the government’s full-year target range of 6.0% to 6.5%. (Reporting by Stella Qiu and Ryan Woo)