The Minister of Railways, Fu Zhihuan, said that China would allow foreign companies to set up joint ventures to engage in internal railway freight transport from 2002 as the first step to the complete opening of the business to foreign investors, China Daily said. Chinese firms would hold a majority stake in the ventures in 2002 and 2003. Between 2004 and 2006, foreign firms would be able to hold a majority stake, after which the market would be completely open.
The ministry also said that it was working towards separation of ownership and management of the railway system, allowing other companies to operate train services and to separate the railways’ freight business from its passenger business, which would not be open to foreign investment.
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