China to further open auto sector to foreign investment

China will further open its auto and other high-end manufacturing sectors to foreign investment, including automotive electronics and new energy vehicle batteries.

Sun Jiwen, spokesperson with the Ministry of Commerce, made the remarks when responding to a question concerning recent comments from German Minister of Economic Affairs Brigitte Zypries that China’s market was not truly free, especially in sectors such as auto manufacturing.

“China encourages foreign investment in high-end manufacturing including the auto sector,” Sun said, noting that most sectors were completely open to foreign investors.

Only a few “sensitive” sectors have restrictions on foreign investment, but that number has been on the decline, he said.

Sun revealed that a revised guidance catalogue for foreign investment in China would soon come into force, relaxing restrictions on foreign ownership in automotive electronics, new energy vehicle batteries, motorcycles and other sectors.

“As one of the beneficiaries of China’s opening up, German auto companies have witnessed China’s improvement in the investment environment in past decades and made handsome returns from it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chinese investment to Germany has rapidly increased in recent years, according to Sun. In 2016, Chinese investors made a total of 11 billion euros (about 12.35 billion U.S. dollars) of investment in Germany on 281 projects, creating 3,900 jobs for the local community.

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