February 24, 2018 / 1:53 PM / 8 months ago

China cuts banking red tape to rally foreign investment - Xinhua

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s banking regulator has introduced steps to cut the red tape for foreign banks, state media agency Xinhua said on Saturday, as part of the government’s ongoing effort to promote investment in the country’s fast-growing financial sector.

FILE PHOTO: Chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission Guo Shuqing talks during a news conference held on the sidelines of the 18th National Party Congress (NPC) in Beijing November 11, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo

The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) has revised its rules for foreign banks, scrapping approval procedures in four areas including overseas wealth management products and portfolio investment funds, the report said.

The new policies became effective on Feb. 13, it said.

The changes mean foreign banks will now only need to report their services to authorities rather than obtaining approval in advance, while steps have been simplified for setting up new branches, appointing executives and issuing bonds.

The commission has also clarified the procedures and application documents for foreign-funded banks to invest in domestic banking institutions, the report said.

CBRC in December issued draft measures for easing market access for foreign lenders, and cutting red tape to create a level playing field for such activities as branch openings, debt fundraising and examination of senior executives.

The rules announced on Saturday appear to be a confirmation of the draft measures, although this was not confirmed.

In November, Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said the country would raise the foreign ownership limit in some joint-venture firms in the futures, securities and fund markets to 51 percent from the current 49 percent. The plan has yet to be implemented.

A month earlier, CBRC Chairman Guo Shuqing said China was preparing to further open up its banking system to foreign investors.

Foreign banks’ market share has halved to 1.2 percent in the past 10 years, Guo said, which “is not beneficial for promoting competition”.

Reporting by Josephine Mason; editing by Clelia Oziel

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