China to allow full foreign ownership of auto manufacturers in 5 years

17 April, 2018, 20:19 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • US President Donald Trump

China is the world's largest auto market.

The long-standing rule had been that foreign carmakers could only own a 50 percent share of a local venture.

This will be followed by the removal of ownership obstacles in 2022 for makers of commercial vehicles and passenger cars. The rule change could boost United States electric vehicle maker Tesla, which has been seeking to set up a wholly owned plant in Shanghai. Trump complained Beijing was hampering trade by charging a 25 percent import duty on most cars while the USA charges less than 3 percent.

Some private sector analysts saw Mr Xi's promise as an attempt to placate Mr Trump, but Chinese officials said the plans had nothing to do with the trade dispute.

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"China is the world's biggest electric vehicle market so it has a great deal of attraction to any auto company".

Under the current setup, foreign carmakers must transfer proprietary technology to the joint venture companies they set up - the issue of forced technology transfer has been a top concern for the Trump administration.

"We will support Chinese and foreign companies in achieving common development on a level playing field", the commission pledged.

It said it hoped the liberalisations would encourage greater exchanges of capital, technology, management and personnel of Chinese and foreign firms.

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The move also comes after President Xi Jinping said last week the country would scrap ownership limits "as soon as possible", encouraging global auto brands even as a fierce standoff over trade intensifies between Beijing and Washington.

The threatened tariffs on a 150 billion worth of Chinese goods, and 50 billion of U.S. goods, would dent economic growth on both sides of the Pacific, analysts say.

The US Treasury at the end of March said that they were not afraid of going into a trade war with China. The NDRC announcement could allay those complaints by giving specific dates for completion of the reforms.

The NDCR added the shipbuilding industry would later this year do away with any restrictions for foreign investors designing, making or repairing vessels. A negative list includes all the industries with foreign investment restrictions.

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China's Commerce Ministry says it will force USA sorghum exporters to pay a temporary 178.6 percent "deposit", which will act as a tariff on the cereal grain that is used in China as feed for cattle and as a sweetener in many products, including baijiu, a popular Chinese liquor.

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