The Chinese government announced late Thursday that it will loosen or
remove restrictions in various industries, including railways, shipping
and power grids. Some of the changes had been announced previously,
such as in the automobile and financial sectors. But one advocacy group
for US businesses in China described the latest measures as
"positive."To get more economy news,
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"Removing some investment barriers in the railway, shipping, and power
sectors ... shows that China is attempting to show it is indeed opening
up," said William Zarit, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in
Beijing has long been criticized for shutting companies from other
countries out of large swathes of its economy. Chinese leaders insist
they are committed to gradually opening the economy at a suitable pace.
Limited market access has been among the complaints leveled against
China by the Trump administration during the escalating trade clash
between the two countries.
But Beijing's latest moves shouldn't be read as a direct reaction to US
demands, analysts say.
"I think they would very much like it to be seen as China opening up to
the rest of the whole world rather than something that is done to
assuage the Trump team," said Louis Kuijs, head of Asia Economics at
research firm Oxford Economics.
China flagged earlier this year that it planned to trim its list of
industries where foreign investment is restricted by the end of June.
Despite the changes announced this week, which will take effect July 28,
Beijing will maintain tight restrictions on foreign involvement in
dozens of sectors, including the media, internet and agriculture.
Foreign companies also complain that they face a range of other
challenges operating in China, such as inconsistent application of
regulations and favoritism toward domestic companies. China's
announcement comes shortly after the Trump administration said it had
decided against imposing outright limits on Chinese investment in the
The White House signaled last month that it would adopt restrictions on
Chinese investment in "industrially significant technology" as part of
its response to alleged Chinese theft of American intellectual property.
But administration officials said on Wednesday that they will rely on
Congress to strengthen an existing government body that evaluates
individual corporate deals for national security risks.
The Chinese government has said it is closely monitoring the
developments in Washington and assessing the potential impact on Chinese
Zarit of the American Chamber of Commerce said China should take more
steps to open its economy.
Such moves would "help to defuse trade frictions with open market-based
economies that feel China continues to take advantage of their openness
while keeping its own markets relatively closed," he said.