China said it will bring forward plans to remove foreign ownership limits on financial companies, as it speeds up efforts to open the $44 trillion industry to overseas competitors.
Full foreign ownership of securities firms, futures businesses and life insurance companies will be allowed by 2020, Premier Li Keqiang said at the World Economic Forum in Dalian on Tuesday. It’s the latest step in the country’s financial-opening policy, a push that was unveiled in late 2017 and which has seen companies including UBS Group AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co. take measures to increase their onshore presence.
Li’s announcement, which came days after the presidents of China and the U.S. agreed to resume trade negotiations, shows that the financial-opening policy remains on course despite broader political tensions. It’s also a way for China to show it’s open to cross-border business and a signal to Wall Street firms that are circling one of the world’s biggest markets that their investments are welcome.
“This is good news for foreign investors and global financial institutions looking to expand and gain a foothold in the Chinese financial market,” said Hubert Tse, partner at Boss & Young law firm in Shanghai. “Despite the ongoing trade talks with the U.S., Beijing is sending out signals to the world it is determined and committed to continue further opening up China’s markets.”