(Yicai Global) Nov. 22 -- China's agricultural ministry plans to accelerate the opening up of the nation's seed industry in order to attract more foreign capital, according to an official at the administration.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs will simplify approval procedures for foreign investors and step up efforts to protect their intellectual property, the official told state-backed news site The Paper yesterday. It will also better regulate the seed industry in a bid to improve its development environment, he added.
China's top economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission, and its commerce ministry issued new special administrative measures for foreign investor access in June, with different rules in pilot free trade zones. The measures included refreshing the negative lists -- outlines of areas foreign investors cannot touch -- for inside and outside the FTZs.
Both lists eased restrictions from last year's, opting to limit foreign ownership in just wheat and maize rather than all crops. Foreign businesses will need an access to invest in wheat and maize and are forbidden from investing in rice and soybean, the official said. The new caps also dictate that at least 34 percent of a company must be Chinese owned in an FTZ and 51 percent in other areas.
The lists are unchanged in their stance on areas where foreign investment is prohibited -- research and development, breeding and planting rare and unique crops in China, and producing related reproductive materials, such as genes. They may also not inject money into selecting transgenic seeds for crops, livestock, poultry and aquatic product breeding or into rice and soybean production