China to ease curbs on business autos, in finance

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China to ease curbs on foreign company on the market, autos

U.S. President Donald Trump along with China’s President Xi Jinping attend at a state dinner in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. (Thomas Peter/Pool Photo via AP)

BEIJING, China — China will ease restrictions on foreign ownership stakes from the fiscal sector and decrease tariffs on automotive imports, also a senior Chinese official said Friday, following criticism by the U.S. and other trading partners.

Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said in a briefing following a state visit to China from President Donald Trump that China will lift limits on foreign ownership stakes in securities, finance managers and futures companies from 49 per cent to 51 per cent and end constraints after three years. Zhu stated. China would raise limits in insurance businesses and eliminate curbs following five years, he added.

“In other words, foreign owners can have full ownership of such businesses” following three to five years, Zhu told reporters.

The moves appeared aimed at addressing mounting foreign complaints regarding China’s trade surpluses and market barriers.

China will also “abolish” limits on foreign ownership stakes in banks, ” Zhu said, though he didn’t say when the movement would take effect. Until now a single foreign investor may have no more than 20 per cent of a single bank, and a lender could have no greater than 25 per cent total ownership.

Beijing will also slowly decrease tariffs on imports, ” Zhu said, without providing specifics.

“This opening upward is critical and the effect will be far-reaching,” Zhu told reporters.

Trump has left putting the U.S. trade deficit with China — $347 billion last year — a priority. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that was a “central focus” of Trump’s talks with President Xi Jinping.

Prior to Trump’s visit, the American Chamber of Commerce had expressed concern that the president’s focus on trade in products might imply he paid pays less attention to both important issues such as complaints regarding limitations on access to finance, health care and other sectors in China’s state-dominated market.

At a tradition aimed at blunting criticism of Beijing’s trade policies, American and Chinese companies signed a string of small business agreements throughout the visit of Trump.

Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said agreements signed Thursday in a ceremony attended by Trump and Xi totalled $253.4 billion, however many were memoranda of understanding or other arrangements that were significantly less than business contracts. Commercial earnings announced appeared to total roughly $65 billion, most involving products firms buy.

Contract signings are a form of visits to Beijing by leaders and therefore are meant to defuse foreign complaints regarding China’s trade surpluses and market barriers. They often represent purchases already made by mobile phone makers, airlines and other clients.

The contracts provide Trump the opportunity to maintain a rare triumph following a year in office indicated with legislative progress on health care and taxes.

China’s trade surplus with the United States in October widened by 12.2 per cent from a year before to $26.6 billion. The surplus with the United States for the first 10 months of the year climbed to $223 billion.

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