China opens car market after US tensions

China will allow full foreign ownership of car firms by 2022 in a move that could open up the world’s biggest car market.

The plans will change rules that require global carmakers to work through state-owned partners. The US says this forces them to share technology with potential competitors.The restrictions helped fuel its trade dispute with US President Donald Trump, but Chinese officials said the plans were not to ease tensions.

China’s state planner said on Tuesday it would remove foreign ownership caps for companies making fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in 2018, for makers of commercial vehicles in 2020, and the wider car market by 2022. China imposed ownership restrictions in 1994, limiting foreign carmakers to owning no more than a 50% share of any local venture. The policy was designed to help domestic carmakers compete.