November 23, 2018 / 3:01 AM / 20 days ago

China's cabinet says to push for more reforms in free trade zones

FILE PHOTO: A worker is seen at the Yangshan Deep Water Port, part of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, in Shanghai, China September 24, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s cabinet on Friday unveiled a variety of measures to deepen reforms in free trade zones (FTZs) and qualified individuals in them will be allowed to invest in overseas securities under relevant rules.

An escalating trade war with the United States this year is threatening to overshadow China’s plan to celebrate 40 years of economic achievements since reforms initiated by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in December 1978.

However, Beijing has said it will push for more reforms and economic opening, but only at its own pace.

Qualified individuals in FTZs will be allowed to invest in overseas securities under relevant rules, said the State Council in a statement on its website. China currently only allows individuals to buy overseas stocks and bonds via limited cross-border investment channels such as the Shanghai-Hong Kong stock connect.

Banks in FTZs will also be allowed to conduct yuan derivative businesses on behalf of overseas institutions, while qualified FTZs will be able to launch pilot schemes for intellectual property rights securitisation, the state council said.

On the non-financial side, the government will allow foreign carriers to offer passenger and cargo services from Zhengzhou and Xian, two key FTZs in China, to an another country.

The government said it would also reduce red tape for auto imports.

Reporting by Stella Qiu, Samuel Shen and Ryan Woo; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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