China says will reduce foreign investment curbs, 2018 FDI up 3%
SHANGHAI/BEIJING China will reduce restrictions on foreign investment and address difficulties facing foreign companies investing in the country, the commerce minister said, according to a transcript of an interview he gave to state media.
Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said China would allow full foreign ownership of companies in more areas of the economy and would reduce the number of industries in which foreign investment was restricted or barred, according to the transcript posted on the Ministry of Commerce's website on Sunday.
The comments appeared to be largely reiterations of past pledges by Chinese officials for further market opening.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) into China rose by 3 per cent year-on-year to US$135 billion (S$183b) last year, Mr Zhong said.
That would mark a slowdown from growth rates of 7.9 per cent in 2017 and 4.1 per cent in 2016.
But Mr Zhong said China had maintained stable FDI growth"against a gloomy global climate," noting that total FDI around the world had slumped by 41 per cent in the first half of last year.
China has been pushing to broaden opportunities for private firms and foreign investors to stimulate an economy that is slowing on the back of weakening domestic demand and a trade war with the US.
Mr Zhong also said "properly handling" trade frictions with the US was a major task for the ministry this year.
The ministry would "conscientiously implement" the consensus to work toward a resolution of the trade row reached by Chinese President Xi Jinping and US counterpart Donald Trump in Argentina late last year, he added.
The two sides held three days of trade talks at a vice-ministerial level in Beijing last week.