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China relaxes rules for foreign-funded iron, steel mills, mining activities

China'sState Council said July 19 that a ban that prevented foreign investors from holding controlling stakes indomestic iron and steel producers had been temporarily lifted in the country'sfour free trade zones from July 1.

Previousregulations required foreign companies who planned to invest in the domesticiron and steel industries to possess independent intellectual property rightson iron and steel and to havea total annual production capacity of at least 10 million tonnes of steel.These requirements were also lifted on the same date.

Inaddition, foreign companies no longer need to secure pre-approval to set upexploration or mining subsidiaries in the country, if they were set up in thefree trade zones of Shanghai, Tianjin as well as in the provinces of Guangdong and Fujian.

Furtherdetails of the new rules will be issued by the Ministry of Industry andInformation Technology and other departments, according to the cabinet.

Thecountry also relaxed restrictions for foreign investments in various sectors,such as shipping, warehousing and education, in the free trade zones, in a bidto attract foreign investment, according to the statement.