China to relax foreign investment norms as part of 'Made in China 2025 Strategy'

'Besides advanced technology and experience in management, China also need capital investment from overseas'

china manufacturing activity slows
Employees work at a vinegar and soy sauce mill in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province, China, January 26, 2016 Reuters

China will relax rules governing foreign investment in firms in sectors such as banking, insurance, securities and futures market trading, according to a document released by the the state planner.

The moves follows a statement made by Prime Minister Li Keqiang earlier this week that China would take measures to attract foreign investment in the manufacturing sector.

The growth in foreign direct investment (FDI) into China this year was a marginal 3.9 percent over the previous year. The economy is reeling from a long-term lull in manufacturing expansion and growth expectations have sunk to the lowest in decades.

"China's economy develops as we continue our opening-up strategy. Besides advanced technology and experience in management, China also need capital investment from overseas," Li said.

China's economic growth is expected to drop as it is goes for tighter monetary policy and further curbs to clam.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said manufacturing sectors like rail transportation equipment, motorcycles, edible fats and oils and fuel ethanol will witness easing of curbs. Ning Jizhe, vice chairman of the NDRC, however, said the government will maintain "some controls", Reuters reported.

The NDRC documents also revealed China will lift restrictions on foreign investment in unconventional oil and gas production.

According to industry experts, Beijing has permitted companies like Shell and BP to develop oil and gas joint ventures with Chinese firms. The NDRC paper suggested China will open up sectors like telecoms, education, internet and credit-rating services, according to the report.

The strategy paper reveals China's plans to clear foreign funded firms to join the national science and technology program as equally as domestic firms, the China Daily reported. This is part of the broader vision to put in place a "Made in China 2025 Strategy", the paper added.