(From Big News Network, Sunday 21st November, 2004) China opens its doors to foreign auction houses dealing in art and antiquities in December as part of its obligations as a World Trade Organization member. The Art Newspaper reported Monday that Ministry of Commerce officials said the world's largest market will be opened Dec. 11 to fully owned foreign firms that meet specified minimum capital limits and other corporate requirements. The firms also will be bound to respect the country's cultural protection laws. China's Ministry of Culture restricts dealing in works of art, books, and archives dating prior to 1949, the year of the Communist takeover of the Chinese government. Under a regulation applying from May of this year, auction companies are required to obtain certification from the ministry's Relics Bureau to deal in objects prior to that date.