China eases rules for some foreign investors

BEIJING, China – The Chinese government is scrapping legal and financing curbs on some foreigners investing in businesses outside the banking industry, the Trade Ministry said on Tuesday.

As part of sweeping financial reforms intended to be China's most ambitious in three decades, the government is cutting swathes of red tape to reduce central planning and align the world's No. 2 economy more closely with free markets. The Ministry of Commerce said it would lift limits on the size of foreigners' initial investments, and abolish previous time and currency curbs set on such activity.

Legal and administrative regulations in such areas will also be scrapped. But the easing of rules does not apply to foreign investors venturing into the banking and financial sector, the ministry said in an online statement. Foreign firms that are setting up Chinese joint ventures must also comply with separate, existing regulations.

The ministry did not say when the new rules would take effect, but said parties to contracts drawn up before March 1 this year must comply with the agreed terms.

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Aaj Kal