China said it would continue to open up its financial markets and encourage foreign investment amid reports the Trump administration is considering restrictions on fund flows to China.
“We will take further steps to promote the high quality two way financial opening, encourage foreign financial institutions & funds to invest in the domestic financial market, to boost the competitiveness and dynamism of the domestic financial system,” according to a summary from the eighth meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Committee.
The world’s two largest economies are heading into another round of high-level trade talks following China’s week long national holidays starting October 1.
A U.S. crackdown on capital flows would present a new pressure point in the economic dispute and could cause disruptions well beyond the hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs the two sides have levied against each other.
“Chinese efforts to enhance reform and opening will be slowed down in the short term, but it will never be stopped,” said Liao Qun, Hong Kong-based chief economist with China Citic Bank International Ltd. “China could explore European, Southeast Asian and the Belt & Road markets in lieu of the U.S.”
Bloomberg News reported on Friday the Trump administration is considering measures including delisting Chinese companies from U.S. stock exchanges, limiting Americans’ exposure to the Chinese market through government pension funds, and putting caps on the Chinese companies included in stock indexes managed by U.S. firms.
The U.S. Treasury said in a statement on Saturday that the administration “is not contemplating blocking Chinese companies from listing shares on U.S. stock exchanges at this time.” The statement did not address or rule out other possibilities.
While various Chinese media republished the Bloomberg story and the Treasury Department’s statement, they were not immediately seen responding to the deliberations by the Trump administration.
The Foreign Ministry didn’t reply to fax on Saturday seeking comments, while the Commerce Ministry didn’t address the issue at a press conference on Sunday.
On Monday, traders in China’s markets will have to decide how to price the risk of the potential U.S. move, which Citigroup Inc. has termed the most extreme threat against China in the escalating rivalry between the two economies so far.
China has been accelerating financial opening in the past two years, promising to lift foreign ownership caps for securities, mutual fund companies and life insurers by next year.
Most recently, regulators scrapped a foreign investment quota limit, allowing qualified overseas funds to simply register before buying onshore stocks and bonds.
The State Council’s Financial Stability and Development Committee is a cabinet-level body set up in July 2017 with the aim of improving coordination of financial-sector supervision. The committee is chaired by Vice Premier Liu He.