China's financial opening to drive quality development: experts

As part of its ongoing efforts to further open up its financial sector, China's government has issued new regulations that permit overseas-based investors to set up a securities trading firm in China with foreign ownership of up to 51%.

Qualified foreign investors can also apply to register a change in the ownership of an existing securities firm in which they are taking a controlling interest.

Earlier in May, several overseas-based finance firms submitted applications to regulators to take a larger stake in China's financial market.

The companies include international investment bank UBS, international foreign exchange service provider World First, and Japan's biggest securities trader Nomura.

Liu Qing, a professor from the School of International Trade and Economics of the University of International Business and Economics, says the changes in the regulations are a demonstration of China's determination for further opening up.

"During China's 40 years of reform and opening up, we will always stick to the principle of expanding our opening up based on our own intentions, that is to say, we gradually open up step-by-step in accordance with the demands of our development. China's economy has entered a new phase, so we need to drive development with opening up, and we need further opening up to promote high-quality development," says Liu.

Restrictions on foreign equity in banks and financial asset management firms are also being dropped, while foreign equity holdings in securities, funds, futures, and life insurance companies are being capped at 51%, with the cap to be phased out over three years.

The government also recently announced its decision to drop import tariffs on anti-cancer drugs, and to lower import tariffs for automobiles.

"These measures will raise the opening of China's economy to a higher level, boost the economy and employment, and bring more benefits to Chinese and the people of the world in the meantime," says Li Gang, deputy director of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. 

Zhang Jianping, deputy director of the academic committee of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce, believes China's further opening up will add a new dynamic to the world.

"In global trade and investment, when negotiating economic and trade rules, we adhere to the principle of wide consultation, joint contributions, and shared benefits to achieve win-win cooperation. Therefore, we consider not only China's interests, but also the common interests of relevant parties. I think China and the world are having good interactions right now," says Zhang.

During the Boao Forum for Asia in April, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced in his speech that China will significantly broaden market access, create a more attractive investment environment, strengthen protection of intellectual property rights, and take the initiative to expand imports.

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