China to ease limits on foreign investment

China will revise rules for foreign investment, aiming to loosen restrictions in more sectors for businesses or investors based abroad, reports Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency.

The National Development and Reform Commission announced on November 4 that the government would begin to solicit public opinion until December 3 on revising “a catalogue of industries to guide foreign investment”.

The draft rules would cut the number of sectors that limit foreign investment to 35 from the current 79, opening up areas such as steel, oil refining and paper making, Xinhua reports. The number of industries that demand Chinese investors hold a majority share in a company will also be axed to 32 from 44.

“The focus will be on opening up manufacturing and services sectors to the outside,” the commission said in a statement, noting that easing restrictions would also help boost China’s international competitiveness.

In total, the draft rules list 349 sectors in which China will encourage foreign investment. China first issued such list in 1995. It was last revised in 2011, Xinhua said.