China will fully lift access restrictions on foreign investment in coal, oil, gas, power generation, excluding nuclear, as well as the new energy businesses, according to a sector white paper released on Monday.
In the white paper, it stated that China is committed to a stable global energy market and is opening its energy sector wider to the world. Beijing is also promoting the energy industry in pilot free trade zones such as Guangdong, Hubei, Chongqing and Hainan, and supports further opening up of the entire oil and gas industry in the China (Zhejiang) Pilot Free Trade Zone.
This is not the first time that China has taken steps to liberalise its energy sector. In 2017, the “Catalogue for the Guidance of Industries for Foreign Investment” was revised. For the first time this gave a negative list for foreign investment access to be adopted across the whole country. The Special Administrative Measures (Negative List) for Foreign Investment Access under the Catalogue were separately released in 2018.
The negative list for foreign investment issued in 2018, as well as a further list issued in 2019 removed the following access restrictions:
- Construction and operation of power grids (with Chinese party as the controlling shareholder)
- Exploration and exploitation of special and rare kinds of coal (with Chinese party as the controlling shareholder)
- Manufacturing of complete vehicles using new energy (the proportion of Chinese shares shall not be less than 50%)
- Construction and operation of gas stations (in the case of the same foreign investors selling product oil of different varieties and brands from multiple suppliers through more than 30 chain gas stations, the Chinese parties shall be the controlling shareholders)
- Exploration and exploitation of oil and natural gas (including coal-bed gas and excluding oil shale, oil sand, shale gas and so on) (limited to Sino-foreign equity or contractual joint ventures)