China will lift restrictions on investments by foreign firms in a range of service industry areas, including online-commerce, logistics, auditing and accounting, the China Securities News quoted Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng as saying. Gao said China would also promote the orderly opening of other service fields, including healthcare, finance, education and culture, the report published Saturday said without elaborating or giving a time frame.
China’s trade in services would exceed $1 trillion by 2020, the minister predicted. The Commerce Ministry has previously said the value of China’s trade in services was expected to exceed $750 billion this year.
The Chinese government has been attempting to guide the economy away from a reliance on investment and exports to one largely oriented toward services and underpinned by domestic demand.
Gao’s comments came on the eve of bilateral meetings in early June between China and the U.S. at which American officials are poised to press their Chinese counterparts to take steps to improve the business and investment climate and open Chinese growth sectors to U.S. investment.
The Obama administration is negotiating a bilateral investment treaty with China, and U.S. negotiators have said they are still awaiting a new “negative list” of areas that Beijing wants to keep off-limits.