China announces long-awaited steps to open up financial services sector

China to widen foreign access to financial sector

China to widen foreign access to financial sector

China's financial services sector will be nearly entirely open to foreign players in the next five years, according to China's deputy finance minister Zhu Guangyao.

Another benefit from the Trump visit was a concession for the finance industry.

In three years, foreign ownership limits for securities funds and joint ventures will be raised to 51 percent.

The limits will be phased out in three years.

China has announced plans to relax foreign ownership restrictions on Chinese banks. Currently, global banks are only allowed to have a 49 percent interest in such companies, thus having no overall control.

China's steps look poised to end years of frustration for foreign banks, who have always been marginal players in Asia's largest economy. China will also increase access to its services and manufacturing sectors, wrote Wang, who was last month promoted to the country's top-decision making body, the Politburo Standing Committee.

Speaking to Bloomberg News, Larry Hu, head of China economics at Macquarie Securities Ltd in Hong Kong, said the move was "a milestone in China's progress of opening up its economy". Announcing this during Trump's visit shows the world that "China and the USA are in a business and trade cooperation rather than confrontation", Hu said.

Publication of Wang's article came as Trump ended his first state visit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, a trip that yielded $253 billion in tentative business deals, but included no bilateral announcements on lowering market barriers.

But he said he blamed past U.S. administrations, not China, "for allowing this out-of-control trade deficit to take place and to grow".

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