July 17, 2017 8:51 pm JST

China's Xi says to accelerate market opening, expand imports -- media

BEIJING (Reuters) -- President Xi Jinping said on Monday China will accelerate market opening and clear administrative hurdles to boost foreign investment, while stepping up financial regulation to fend off risks.

China should quicken the pace to eliminate restrictions on foreign capital in areas such as baby products, elderly care, architecture design, accounting, auditing, logistics, and e-commerce, Xi told the Communist Party's financial and economic leading group in a regular meeting, as reported by state radio.

"We need to continue to utilize foreign investment to push forward supply-side reform and elevate our economy to catch up with the global innovation pace," Xi said.

"We must push forward market opening faster in areas that protects consumer rights, increase financial competition and fend off financial risks."

Foreign companies have long complained about a ban on them entering certain strategically important sectors and requirements to hold a minority share in the form of a joint venture with local firms even in sectors they are allowed to participate in.

Xi said China should create a new basic law governing foreign investment and set a deadline to get rid of existing rules that are against market-opening principles.

"Foreign firms should be treated fairly," Xi was reported as saying. He stressed excessive checks and penalties against foreign firms should be cleared and reduced.

China will also expand imports while keeping exports steady, Xi said. It would keep its yuan currency basically stable and its exchange rate within a "reasonable" range, he was reported as saying.

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