China to widen foreign access to financial sector

Beijing (AFP) –


China on Friday said it will further open the country's financial markets to foreign firms, a key demand from the United States and other global investors who have long complained about the strict limits on access to the giant economy.

The announcement came after Donald Trump's state visit to Beijing during which he called for a more level playing field for US companies and measures to a massive trade imbalance.

Vice finance minister Zhu Guangyao said foreign firms will be allowed to own as much as 51 percent of shares of tie-ups in securities, funds and futures industries, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

The limits will be phased out in three years.

Foreign ownership restrictions in Chinese banks and financial asset management firms will also be lifted, Zhu said as he discussed the "consensus" reached during Trump's state visit, according to Xinhua.

Foreign companies are currently not allowed to have a controlling stake in firms in China.