China has revised its ‘negative list’ to loosen foreign investment restrictions

Map of China
China has reduced the number of business sectors subject to restrictions.

China loosened foreign investment restrictions across a number of different business sectors, including petroleum and gas exploration, agriculture, mining and manufacturing.

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) revised its so-called “negative list” which prohibits foreign investment in certain business sectors.

The market-opening measures were made a day after US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping reached a trade truce – the two countries have agreed to restart trade talks.

According to Xinhua, China’s Ministry of Commerce released two negative lists of 2019: one for piloted free trade zones (FTZ) and another for the rest of the country.

Pilot FTZs have 37 listed items for foreign investors, down from 45, while the number of listed items in non-FTZ areas is now 40, down from 48.

What has changed?

Restrictions on the exploration and development of petroleum and natural gas have been canceled, while prohibition on foreign investment in the exploitation of wildlife resources has been abolished.

China is also scrapping the need for Chinese entities to have control of domestic shipping agencies, gas and heat pipelines in cities with a population of more than 500,000, cinemas and performance brokerage institutions.

A ban was also lifted on foreign investment in the exploration and exploitation of molybdenum, tin, antimony and fluorite.

Bai Ming, deputy director of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM)’s International Market Research Institute, was quoted by The Global Times as saying:

“Shortening the negative list is by no means a forced move, but rather China’s new effort to further pursue opening-up at a wider scope and to a deeper degree,”