In a bid to arrest its economic slowdown, China has eased restrictions on foreign investment in its free trade zones, removing 27 items across eight sectors including mining, manufacturing and banking, on which foreign investment was barred. In manufacturing, foreign companies are allowed to produce their own rail transport facilities, instead of having to set up joint ventures with local firms. Rules were also eased for foreign companies manufacturing electric vehicles and related products, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. In finance, foreign banks are permitted to underwrite government bonds and they do not have to wait for a minimum period of operation to launch Renminbi (RMB) services.
The list, first compiled in 2013, spells out specific bans or restrictions to foreign investment. Authorities have vowed to gradually shorten the list to further open the market. In 2013, there were 190 items on the list. This was reduced to 139 in 2014, and to 122 in the previous 2015 update. The list now stands at 95 items, the report said. However, it only applies in the free trade zones — which have expanded from the first in Shanghai to the current 11 across the country. Chinese economy slowed down to 6.9 per cent last year and the government has cut down the growth to 6.5 per cent this year.