China on Friday agreed to let foreign companies own bigger stakes in Chinese securities firms, a result of high-level talks between US and Chinese trade officials, The Wall Street Journal reported. Under the new rules, foreign firms will be allowed to own as much as 49% of joint ventures with Chinese brokerages involved in securities trading and underwriting, up from the current 33% ceiling. Western financial firms operating in China have long protested limitations on ownership of Chinese securities companies, accusing Beijing of reneging on pledges to open the financial services sector after joining the WTO in 2001. Howhow Zhang, head of research at consulting firm Z-Ben Advisors, credited the shift in policy to Guo Shuqing, China’s new securities regulator who has pushed for pro-market reforms since taking over late last year.
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