Did China Just Give Donald Trump the Middle Finger?


China has announced that it’s opening up its financial sector to foreign ownership:

The relaxation in the securities industry potentially paves the way for Wall Street investment banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and J.P. Morgan Chase to increase their presence in China’s hard-to-crack domestic market….China will allow foreign companies to hold 51% of domestic-securities firms….The country will also remove caps for foreign stakes in Chinese banks….The government also will allow 51% foreign ownership in Chinese life-insurance companies in three years and lift that restriction entirely in five years.

That’s all well and good, but here’s the part that puzzles me:

China took a major step in opening up its financial sector, announcing a relaxation of restrictions on foreign ownership in the securities and banking sectors just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump concluded his visit to Beijing.

I’m no China tea-leaf reader, but was this calculated? Did China deliberately wait until Trump was gone so that he couldn’t hold a joint appearance with Xi Jinping crowing about it? Did the American team even know this was coming? So far, Trump has tweeted nothing about it.

Or was the timing related to domestic politics, with Xi not wanting it to look like this happened due to American pressure? But if that was the case, why not wait a few weeks so there’s not even a question about the timing?

Are there any thoughtful China watchers out there who care to chime in on this? It sure looks like a calculated slight to me, but what do I know?


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