China to roll out fresh market-opening measures this year, official says

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - China will roll out fresh market-opening measures this year that could exceed “international expectations”, a top Communist Party official said in Davos on Wednesday.

China will ease restrictions for foreign companies in its financial, manufacturing and services sectors, while stepping up efforts in protecting intellectual property and expanding imports, said Liu He, who heads the General Office of the Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs.

China has frustrated foreign financial firms eager to expand in its multi-trillion-dollar financial sector, but announced measures late last year to ease market access.

“I can responsibly say we will realize our promises one by one this year,” said Liu, who was leading the Chinese delegation to the annual World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort.

China will also lower import tariffs for cars “in an orderly way”, Liu said, without giving any details.

China, which is under increasing pressure from the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump over its trade practices, imposes a 25 percent tax on imported cars. After Trump’s visit to China in November, Beijing said it would gradually cut tariffs on vehicles.

Last week, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer called Chinese automotive trade rules “manifestly unfair, and a typically unfortunate example of China’s rapacious trading policies”.

Chinese-built cars shipped to the United States face a 2.5 percent tariff.

Reporting by Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Nick Macfie