A new circular on “Expanding the Opening to and Active Use of Foreign Investment” was issued on January 17th, 2017. The Guidelines are a high level set of guiding, strategic, principles to indicate its policy towards foreign investment in the medium term. Key points are:
Liberalisation of financial and accounting sectors, certain manufacturing sectors, and alternative extraction methods for traditional energy sources (e.g. shale).
As with other recent administrative changes in China, an approval system will be replaced by a record-filing system, but this will be for Sino-foreign ventures only, and in the old and gas sector only, presumably on the basis that these areas are under close state control anyway.
Most of the changes announced on January 17th are already included in the latest draft of the revised Foreign Investment Industry Catalogue.
It is also stated that China will open up in an "orderly” manner previously sensitive areas such as telecommunications, education, internet, culture industry, transportation.
Preference will be extended to foreign-invested enterprises supporting the "Made in China 2025" strategy. As one would expect, the sectors to be especially favoured are high-tech, green, logistics and other sectors which China has been trending towards in its policy tilts over recent years. Infrastructure and R&D are also favoured.