SHANGHAI--China says it will give foreign companies long-sought greater access to its financial industry.

Investment restrictions will be relaxed in banking, securities, fund management, futures and insurance, Ning Jizhe, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, said during a press conference Friday, without elaborating.

Current rules limit foreign investors in China's securities industry to 49% stakes in joint ventures set up with local partners.

Earlier this week Premier Li Keqiang vowed steps to attract foreign investment in manufacturing and "create fair competition conditions for foreign and domestic firms." In manufacturing, restrictions will be eased in transportation equipment, motorbikes, ethanol and edible fats and oils, said the NDRC, the country's highest economic-planning agency. China will also lower curbs on foreign investment in unconventional oil and gas production, including shale gas.

Foreign capital will be allowed in accounting, architecture design, auditing and rating services, according to NDRC, which also said it will push for the "orderly opening-up" of the telecom, internet, cultural, education and transportation sectors.

Foreign investors will be allowed to participate through franchise agreements in infrastructure projects in fields including energy, transportation, environmental protection and water conservation, said the NDRC's Mr. Ning.

Some of the pledges echoed changes in a draft of foreign-investment guidelines released earlier this month, which reduced the number of restricted or closed sectors to 62 from 93.

The foreign-investment opening comes as China tightens capitalcontrols, fighting outflows as its currency slides to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar in more than 8 years. Defending the yuan has eaten into China's foreign-exchange reserves, which shrank to US$3.05 trillion in November, down by about a quarter since June 2014. In October China yielded to Japan the top spot among the U.S.'s foreign creditors.

Foreign direct investment into China in the first 11 months of the year came to 731.8 billion yuan ($106 billion) 3.9% more than in the year-earlier period, according to the Ministry of Commerce, while nonfinancial outbound investment hit US$161.7 billion, up 55%.

Yifan Xie

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 30, 2016 05:50 ET (10:50 GMT)

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