Beijing vows to open finance sector, at own pace


HONG KONG • China pledged to keep nudging open the door to its mammoth financial industry — but it will do so at its own pace.

Yesterday, amid a slew of Sino-US dealmaking during US President Donald Trump’s visit to China, the Foreign Ministry said entry barriers to sectors such as banking, insurance, securities and funds will be “substantially” eased. That will happen “in accordance with China’s own timetable and road map,” the ministry said, following a meeting between Trump and his counterpart Xi Jinping.

The ministry also said that China had urged the US to push forward an application by China International Capital Corp for a US financial licence. The two countries announced yesterday US$250 billion (RM1.05 trillion) in investment deals, many of which came in the form of tentative agreements.

The comments will be encouraging to foreign banks, asset managers and insurers, who have long been kept on the margins in China, the world’s second-largest economy, by various barriers. Among changes at the top of global banks’ wish list: Permission to amass majority stakes in local securities joint ventures. They’re currently limited to 49%.

The cap has frustrated foreign banks’ attempts to compete effectively with domestic securities firms and was behind JPMorgan Chase & Co’s move to exit its venture, as it sought a new structure that would give it more say in decision making.