BEIJING – China plans to ease restrictions in its finance sector to allow foreign firms to own majority stakes in banks and asset management companies and gradually reduce import tariffs on automobiles, the country’s vice minister of finance announced on Friday at a press briefing.
The communist regime is planning to do away with the 20 percent ceiling on foreign ownership in Chinese banks and financial asset management, and also to abolish a 25 percent limit on total foreign holdings in these financial institutions, Zhu Guangyao said.
“This is an important commitment by China as a WTO member and shows its efforts to uphold free trade,” said Zhu.
The limit on foreign ownership in China’s securities, fund management and futures trading joint ventures will also be raised from the current 49 percent to 51 percent, allowing foreign firms to own majority stakes, and in three years all limits on foreign investment in such companies would be completely eliminated, the minister added.
He said foreign firms would also be allowed to own up to 51 percent in life-insurance companies in China, although the limit would be phased out over a five-year period.
The plan was presented to US President Donald Trump during talks on Thursday in Beijing, the minister said, adding that the opening of China’s finance sector was long awaited by economies such as the United States and the European Union.
Chinese President Xi Jinping had promised during the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China to open up the Chinese economy.