World Economy

China Unveils Investment Restrictions in FTZs

China Unveils Investment Restrictions in FTZsChina Unveils Investment Restrictions in FTZs

China on Monday unveiled its long-awaited list of restricted areas of investments for the nation’s four free trade zones, Channel NewsAsia said.

In a statement on China’s main government website, the list included a total of 122 items, down slightly from the 139 that were put in place for the Shanghai Free Trade Area, which was opened in September 2013.

The new list largely maintained the right of authorities to curb investments that are already restricted in some form elsewhere in China, such as publishing, news, internet content, films, auction houses as well as law practices, banking and asset management.

The restricted list also maintained the existing 49% cap for foreign companies investing in securities business joint ventures and curbed investments in asset management.

It restricted foreign investments in air and sea cargo operations, stating that air cargo operations had to be controlled by a Chinese party and a single foreign interest could not hold more than 25%. Public ground transport was also restricted as well as tobacco-related trade.

China has said it was using a so-called “negative list” to free up curbs on investments by domestic and foreign investors. It is supposed to be designed to permit any investments that are not specifically restricted.

Many foreign investors were initially disappointed by the long list of restricted investments rolled out for Shanghai when that zone was set up, as they were hoping to see a greater relaxation of investment curbs.

Last month, the Communist Party’s Politburo approved a plan for three new zones in Guangdong and Fujian provinces in the south and the big northern municipality of Tianjin – in addition to the existing Shanghai zone.