Shanghai Opens More Industries to Foreign Firms in Trade Zone

Shanghai, China’s commercial hub, will allow foreign companies registered in its free-trade zone to invest in more industries, including technology for oil exploration, motorcycle production and property.

Other industries opened to foreign companies include refining of some products from oil, cotton processing, wholesale distribution of fertilizer and the production of some medicines and vitamins, according to new rules posted on the city government’s website today.

China inaugurated the free-trade zone in September as a testing ground for policies such as freer yuan convertibility and interest-rate liberalization. Authorities also released a so-called “negative list” that outlined areas off limits to foreign investment and followed by pledging to gradually reduce the number of prohibitions.

Today’s list reduced the number of restricted areas in oil, cotton, chemicals, fibers and manufacturing based on a comparison with an earlier list released in September. In all, 51 items were cut, a reduction of about 27 percent, the government said on its portal today. Shanghai Mayor Yang Xiong pledged in January that the list would be shortened and made more transparent.