China will implement measures this year to meet a commitment announced last November to give foreign investors greater access to its financial sector, including the insurance market.
Mr Liu He, a key economic adviser to President Xi Jinping told the World Economic Forum in the Swiss town of Davos earlier this week: “ I would state in a responsible manner here, that we will implement these measures one by one this year, the earlier the better.”
He also flagged that other policies will be announced this year to mark the 40th anniversary of the country’s reform and opening-up strategy, according to a report in Caixin Global.
Mr Liu, a member of the Politburo, a group of the 25 most-senior officials of the ruling Communist Party, also said: “We need to celebrate the anniversary of (the start of) reform and opening-up policy and the best way to commemorate the occasion is to roll out new, more aggressive reform measures,” Mr Liu said. “The central government is undertaking careful studies of the new measures. Here let me tell you in a responsible manner that some measures will exceed the expectations of the international community.”
Mr Liu is also a vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s powerful economic planning agency. He is the director of the General Office of the Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs, a group that reports to the Central Committee and is responsible for leading, coordinating and supervising the economic work of the Party and the government.
The Chinese government announced plans to open up the financial sector wider to overseas investors on 10 November last year, at the end of US President Donald Trump’s state visit to Beijing. The proposals involve a significant relaxation of foreign ownership rules on banks, securities and asset management companies, and insurers.
Under the proposals, the foreign ownership limit on insurance companies conducting personal insurance business will be raised to 51% from 50% after three years and scrapped altogether after five years. But no timetable had then been given.