China to ease foreign investment restrictions on several more sectors: paper

FILE PHOTO: Chinese 100 yuan banknotes are seen on a counter of a branch of a commercial bank in Beijing, China, March 30, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China will soon announce a further opening of sectors to foreign investment, the China Securities Journal reported on Tuesday, extending a years-long effort to liberalize capital markets and loosen investment rules in the world’s second-biggest economy.

Under a new version of the government’s “negative list”, foreign investment restrictions in areas including energy, resources, infrastructure, transportation, commerce & logistics and professional services will be loosened or scrapped, the newspaper said.

In addition to the 2018 plan, China will unveil the easing of foreign investment rules for several years ahead in a bid to improve policy predictability, the article said.

The Ministry of Commerce will publish two negative lists, one for free-trade zones (FTZ), which opens wider to foreign investment, and the other for the rest of China, according to the newspaper.

Washington and Beijing appeared increasingly headed toward open trade conflict after negotiations failed to resolve U.S. complaints over Chinese industrial policies, lack of market access in China and a $375 billion U.S. trade deficit.

After years of complaints about Beijing blocking foreign access to its fast-growing financial markets, China announced in April it would lift the cap on foreign ownership on stockbroking firms from 49 percent to 51 percent. It has also pledged to phase out rules requiring foreign auto makers to share factory ownership and profits with Chinese companies by 2022.

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Monday to impose a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods, escalating a tit-for-tat trade war with Beijing.

The threat came after Trump said on Friday he was pushing ahead with a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese products, prompting Beijing to respond in kind.

Reporting by Samuel Shen and Adam Jourdan; Editing by Shri Navaratnam