China releases shortened market access negative list

K J M Varma

Beijing, Nov 22 (PTI) China on Friday unveiled a shortened negative list to expand market access for both domestic and foreign investors, amidst a marked slowdown in the country's economy.

The negative list refers to the sectors and businesses that are off-limits or restricted for private investors.

The 2019 version of the list includes 131 items, which is 20 fewer than the 2018 list, the official media reported.

The items removed from the list mostly include services industry like establishment of nursing homes, social welfare institutions and fire control services, according the National Development and Reforms Commission (NDRC).

The introduction of the list will help the Chinese market play a decisive role in resource allocation, push forward the continuous ease of market access and stimulate the vitality of market entities, particularly the private economy, the top planning body said.

Chinese experts said the new, shortened nationwide negative list for market access showed the country's commitment to further opening up its market and its efforts to provide equal treatment to domestic and foreign market entities.

As China faces increased uncertainties at home and abroad, the country is expected to exploit its advantage of large market scale to the fullest and advance economic development, said Guo Liyan, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Macroeconomic Research.

Given the current context, the negative list plays a vital role in stabilising investment and enhancing the impact of the Chinese market, he told the Global Times.

China introduced market access negative lists in December 2018, and Chinese authorities revise the list on an annual basis.

Unlike the negative list for foreign investment market access which was released in June, the new, unified list applies to all market players including both domestic and foreign investors, the Global Times report said.

China's growth slumped to 6 per cent in the third quarter of 2019, its lowest level in nearly three decades, as the world's second largest economy struggled to overcome the impact of a bruising trade war with the US and sluggish domestic demand.

The slowdown comes despite government efforts to support the economy, including measures such as tax cuts.

China's GDP had expanded 6.2 per cent year on year in the first three quarters of 2019 to about 69.78 trillion yuan (about USD 9.87 trillion). PTI KJV INDIND