accelerate the process to fully lower the market access threshold for foreign investments in
banking, securities and insurance, the premier said. Service sectors, including medical care and educ
ation, will be opened up along with transportation, infrastructure and energy, he said.
Li said China will further make it easier for foreign companies to set up a venture capital presence and will improve regulati
ons on foreign investors’ strategic investments in listed companies and their mergers with and acquisitions of domestic enterprises.
Also, preferential policies for investments from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan w
ill remain unchanged, and greater development opportunities will be offered for them, Li said.
Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalizaton, said he was impressed by Li’s speech to cl
ean up rules and regulations inconsistent with the Foreign Investment Law as well as to launch a more streamlined negative list.
“It shows China’s attitude of further opening-up, which is a higher-level and more concrete commitment of China,” he said.
Leif Johansson, chairman of global biopharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, said
Li’s speech reflects the determination to create a more open, fair and transpare
nts in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Shandong provinces as well as Beijing will eventually be able to sell bonds at count
ers in commercial banks directly to retail investors, and the practice will be expanded nationwide after an additional period of time.
The ministry said individuals do not need to pay taxes on the bonds’ interest income, and this policy is likely to attract more investors.
Selling local government bonds to retail investors should facilitate liquidity
in the secondary market, improve the market-oriented bond pricing mechanism and pu
sh issuers to enhance the quality of information disclosure, said Amanda Du, a Moody’s vice-president and senior analyst.
“Higher coupon rates compared with treasury bonds, and the tax exemption on the interest income, make
local government bonds more attractive for retail investors,” she said. “The fast takeup by retail investors also indicates that the
bonds have won high recognition among individual buyers, supported by the local governments’ high credit ratings.”
domestically rated “AAA”, the safest level. The sale to individual investors is mainly of project-link
ed special-purpose bonds, a type of local government bond vigorously promoted by the government in re
cent years. The cash flows generated from the underlying projects will be used as the primary repayment sources.
In China, there are two types of local government bonds: general bonds and special purpose bonds. According to the country’s 2019 budget repor
t, which was approved by the top legislature earlier this month, the budgeted deficit for local governments is 930 billion yuan, up 100 billi
on yuan compared with 2018, and this fund gap will be supplemented by general bonds.
In the meantime, 2.15 trillion yuan of special purpose bonds will be issued to support la
rge infrastructure projects, such as shantytown renovation projects and railways, said the ministry.
Letting individual buyers invest in local government bonds is a way to narrow the government’s financin
g gap, said Hu Yijian, a tax professor at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. The gap is expected to expand, as policym
akers decided to cut about 2 trillion yuan in taxes and fees this year while at the same time increase spending on investment.
inistration put into practice the Taiwan Travel Act and the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, both passed last year, to fulfill its promise to the Tsai authorities. In their
letter to US President Donald Trump, some Congress members have said the Taiwan Relations Act will help mai
ntain peace, security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and suppress Beijing’s so-called aggression.
Moreover, to seek the US’ protection and contain Beijing, the Tsai authorities have been hyping up
the island’s strategic value for Washington. But the fact is, the empty promises given by the Congress me
mbers cannot guarantee any safety to the Tsai authorities and, instead, could put them in danger.
Ahead of the 2020 elections on the island, some US Congress members are incitin
g the Tsai authorities to provoke disputes with the mainland by supporting those seeking “Taiwan ind
ependence”. But since any attempt to split Taiwan from the motherland would lead to a conflict, it will be in the interest of neith
er side of the Straits nor the US. Worse, such a conflict would destroy peace and stability in the entire Asia-Pacific region.
to the “pro-independence” DPP, it will embolden the Tsai authorities to take more risky acti
ons, and thus damage cross-Straits ties further, harming the interests of Beijing and Washington both.
US Congress members are elected by American voters as their representatives and, ther
efore, they should always put the interests of their people and country first. And instigating the Tsai authorities to fu
rther damage cross-Straits ties certainly doesn’t serve the interest of either American voters or the US as a country.
The author is a professor at the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Beijing Union University. The views don’t necessarily repre
sent those of China Daily.President Xi Jinping and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (both seated), witness the
signing of a memorandum of understanding on joint construction of the Belt and Road between He Lifeng, head of the N
ational Development and Reform Commission, and Luigi Di Maio, Italian deputy prime minister, in Rome on Saturd