China to allow full foreign ownership in auto industry

China has announced plans to allow full foreign ownership of automakers in five years, ending restrictions that have strained relations with Washington and other trading partners.

The Cabinet's planning commission said Tuesday it will lift limits on foreign ownership of electric vehicle producers this year, followed by similar action for makers of commercial vehicles in 2020 and passenger vehicles in 2022.

The announcement by the National Development and Reform Commission said, "following a five-year transition period, all ownership restrictions will be lifted."

That would end rules requiring foreign automakers in China to work through local state-owned partners, an arrangement that forced them to share technology with potential competitors.