US group urges China to open insurance, securities markets
An American business group urged mainland China on Friday to allow more access to its insurance and other service industries, saying foreign skills could help develop its volatile stock markets and cope with disasters like the recent chemical explosion in Tianjin.
Opening largely closed banking, logistics and other markets wider to foreign competitors would support the communist leadership’s effort to nurture service industries and reduce reliance on trade and investment to drive economic growth, the American Chamber of Commerce in China said.
The group’s deputy chairman, Lester Ross, pointed to China’s stock market plunge and the Aug. 12 explosion in Tianjin that killed at least 145 people, and said bringing in more global expertise could help to develop financial markets and reduce the impact of disasters.
“Our hope, frankly, is that the downturn in the market will encourage the Chinese government to open faster,” Ross said at a news conference.
In a report, the chamber also cited potential opportunities in fields including engineering, health care, communications technology, legal services, real estate, entertainment, online commerce and logistics.
The report is part of an annual series but its release comes at a time when stock market turmoil and unexpectedly weak export and manufacturing data have fueled concerns about the health of China’s economy. That has prompted urging from economists for Beijing to move faster on promised reforms aimed at making the economy more productive by opening state-dominated industries to private and foreign competition.
Despite promises of reform, foreign service businesses are “pessimistic about the regulatory environment,” said the chamber chairman, James Zimmerman.