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China Further Liberalises Free Trade Zone Sectors for Foreign Investment


Foreign investment within the country’s Pilot Free Trade Zones has now been okayed in an additional 50 sectors. The change was revealed following the publication of the 2018 edition of the Special Administrative Measures for Foreign Investment Access in the Pilot Free Trade Zones (Negative List), which saw the number of proscribed investment sectors fall from its 2017 level of 95 to just 45.
The highlights of the new list, as recently issued by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), are as follows:
  • In the case of projects relating to seed production and the breeding of new wheat / corn varieties, the maximum foreign equity level has been raised from 49% to 66%
  • Foreign investors in petroleum and natural gas prospecting and exploitation projects are no longer restricted to participating in equity/cooperative joint ventures
  • Foreign investors are no longer prohibited from funding the smelting and processing of radioactive minerals nor the production of nuclear fuel
  • The Chinese majority ownership rule, as it applies to performing arts agencies, has been rescinded
  • The previous ban on all foreign investment in performers/groups of performers has been superseded by the requirement that all such entities retain a majority Chinese shareholding
  • The pilot opening-up measures related to value-added telecommunications services are to be extended from the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone to all Pilot Fee Trade Zones