BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping and other top officials have approved new regulations for the country's asset management sector, the establishment of a financial court in Shanghai and plans to deepen reform.

 

The state news agency Xinhua reported the decisions from the first meeting on Wednesday of the Central Committee for Deepening Overall Reform, a body over which Xi presides and which is charged with driving China's economic and political reforms.

 

"The launch of deeper reform of the Party and state institutions marks a new stage for deepening reform in all areas," it quoted Xi as saying.

 

"The reform will further touch upon profound adjustment of interest patterns and changes of the system of institutions."

 

Market reforms begun 40 years ago have underpinned China's rise to become the world's second biggest economy, but critics say difficult changes in areas ranging from finance to governance are necessary to keep development on track.

 

Xi called for stronger and improved Party coordination and leadership over reform, which will become "more complex, sensitive and onerous", Xinhua said.

In addition to approving new regulations for the country's asset management sector, details of which were not made public, and a proposal to set up a financial court in Shanghai, the meeting approved plans for deepening reform and opening-up in pilot free trade zones in Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian, it said.

Moreover, it passed guidelines on strengthening regulation over the investment of non-financial entities in financial institutions.

The meeting also considered a report on deepening reform of party and state bodies that oversee anti-corruption work and a report on the first round of inspection over environmental protection led by central authorities. Xinhua did not give details.

(This version of the story has been refiled to fix typographical error in headline)

(Reporting by Se Young Lee and Lusha Zhang in BEIJING, and John Ruwitch in SHANGHAI; Editing by Richard Borsuk & Shri Navaratnam)