China removes limits on foreign ownership of fuel stations

China will remove restrictions on foreign investments in gasoline stations, clearing the way for global oil giants like BP to operate more wholly owned stations in the country. The rollback of restrictions is part of the 2018 version of the so-called “negative list,” published by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s top economic planner, and the Ministry of Commerce. The list eases foreign investment curbs on a wide range of sectors including banking, automotive, heavy industries and agriculture.

Making public the new negative list is an important move to implement the central authorities’ arrangement for the opening-up strategy, relax market access to a great extent, and push forward high-level opening-up, the NDRC said.

“The new round of opening-up will provide new impetus for attracting more foreign investment, promoting market competition and raising innovation capability,” the commission said. Earlier yesterday, the commerce ministry said it will closely monitor US policies on foreign investments and will evaluate their potential impacts on Chinese companies.

China opposes the act of tightening foreign investment rules under the pretense of national security, the ministry’s spokesman Gao Feng said.

US President Donald Trump said he supports Congress to pass legislation to protect key technologies from acquisitions by foreign entities, signaling that Washington will not roll out additional executive actions to limit foreign investments for the moment. Gao said global investors will “vote with their feet” on the changes of the US investment climate as China actively participates in economic globalization.