China Rethinks China-First Industry Policy

China is poised to delay its aim to dominate in manufacturing by 2025 and instead grant easier access for foreign companies.

The move would postpone the country’s “Made in China 2025” policy that the Trump administration derides as subsidized protectionism that threatens fair competition, sources tell The Wall Street Journal. The new policies are expected to be announced in January as trade talks accelerate between China and the U.S.

The new strategy may drop current targets that demand goods manufactured by Chinese companies achieve 40% local content by 2020 and 70% by 2025, according to the newspaper. Such goals would increasingly lock out foreign competition.

The Journal’s source say Beijing also is preparing to launch new policies to create “competitive neutrality” among state-owned, private and foreign companies. The strategy would block government agencies from supporting state-owned companies but ignoring privately owned enterprises.

Experts don’t expect policy miracles from a country whose economy is built on strong government oversight, the newspaper cautions. But it says analysts believe the proposed easing of barriers to foreign-based manufacturers would be a definite peace sign in the simmering U.S.-China trade war.