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Open for business: China further lifts barriers to foreign investment

China announced on June 28 that it will use a negative list management approach for all foreign investment, open up more sectors and further relax restrictions for foreign businesses.

From July 28, the negative list approach, which identifies sectors and businesses that are off-limits or restricted, will be implemented nationwide, said the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

China has piloted the approach in some areas. Under the approach, government approvals are not required for most foreign investment and only investment on the negative list remains subject to approval.

On June 28, the NDRC and the Ministry of Commerce jointly issued a revised foreign investment catalog, which includes the negative list as well as sectors and industries that the government wants to encourage foreign companies to invest in.

The new catalog will also take effect on July 28.

As a result, foreign investment will have easier access to China’s highway passenger transport, processing of certain rare metals, as well as the manufacturing of rail transit equipment, and cooking oil, among others.

The catalog also shortened the list of sectors that completely ban foreign investment — from 36 to 28.

Sectors that are off-limits to foreign investors include air traffic control and compulsory education institutes.