China Publishes Proposed Changes to Rules for Investment

China posted for public comment possible changes to controls on foreign investment that will open new areas to overseas companies and increase the equity stakes they can hold in some kinds of local firms.

The draft amendments would be aimed at opening manufacturing and service industries, the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic-planning agency, said on its website yesterday.

China is proposing easier rules on inbound foreign investment amid complaints from some overseas companies that officials in the world’s second-biggest economy discriminate against non-Chinese corporations.

About 60 percent of foreign-based companies said in a survey released on Sept. 2 by the American Chamber of Commerce that China has become a less welcoming place to do business, up from 41 percent who said the same thing at the end of 2013. China’s recent emphasis on anti-monopoly regulation comes on top of concerns about market access, licensing and intellectual-property rights, chamber Chairman Greg Gilligan said at the time.

Foreign companies have been targeted in probes, with regulators opening an antitrust investigation into Microsoft Corp. in July and state media accusing Apple Inc. of using its iPhone to steal state secrets. China’s government has said it’s not specifically targeting overseas-based companies.

Investment in crude distillation facilities with annual processing capacity of less than 10 million metric tons isn’t among the restricted items in the new draft, according to yesterday’s statement.

— With assistance by Jing Yang

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