Changes have been made to investment requirements. Photo: iStock/zhudifeng

Restrictions on foreign investment in seven industries would be further relaxed or canceled starting from the end of July, while the government was welcoming policies for foreign investment to be introduced on the development of technologies as well as the fifth generation cellular network technology, it was announced in late June.

On June 30, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce issued the special administrative measures for foreign investment access – also known as the National Negative List – with the number of barred entries down to 40 from 48 in the latest edition, the Xinhua News reported.

On the same day, Chinese authorities also issued the Special Administrative Measures (Negative List) for Foreign Investment Access to Free Trade Zones (the FTZs Negative List), with the number of barred entries being down to 37 from 45 in the latest edition.

Both the National Negative List and the FTZs Negative List would take effect from July 30, 2019, and set out the restricted and prohibited business sectors for foreign investment.

The 2019 version of the negative lists of foreign investment introduced new liberalization measures in a range of areas, including transportation, infrastructure construction, culture and entertainment, telecommunications, agriculture, mining industry and manufacturing industry.

In the transportation sector, the requirement of domestic shipping agents to be conducted by Chinese companies was to be canceled.

In the field of infrastructure construction, the requirement of only Chinese companies building gas or heat pipe networks for cities of more than 500,000 people was to be canceled.

In the culture and entertainment sector, the requirement of only Chinese companies owning cinemas and artist agencies was to be canceled.

In the field of value-added telecommunications, the restrictions on foreign investment in domestic multi-party communication, store-and-forward and call center services was to be eliminated.

There would be major relaxations on agriculture, mining and manufacturing access. In the agricultural sector, regulations prohibiting the development of foreign investment in wildlife resources would be lifted.

In the mining industry, oil and gas exploration and development, which had been limited to joint ventures and cooperation, would be canceled, and the regulations prohibiting foreign investment in molybdenum, tin, antimony and fluorite exploration and mining was to be lifted.

In the manufacturing sector, the ban on foreign investment in rice paper or production of inkstones was to be lifted. Meanwhile, the catalog of encouraged industries for foreign investment was also released.

Compared with the 2017 version, the new catalog for encouraging foreign investment nationwide has 67 newly-added items and 45 modified items.

New items have been added to encourage foreign investment in 5G core components, etching machines for integrated circuits, chip packaging equipment and cloud computing equipment.

New entries would also be added for artificial intelligence, clean production, carbon capture and circular economy.

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