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China Announces Six New Pilot Free Trade Zones

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China on Monday announced a master plan for six new pilot free trade zones (FTZs) in a strategic move to press ahead with reform and opening up in the new era.

According to the plan released by the State Council, the new pilot FTZs will be located in the six provincial regions of Shandong, Jiangsu, Guangxi, Hebei, Yunnan and Heilongjiang.

The plan said setting up new pilot FTZs was a major decision by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council and a strategic move to advance reform and opening up in new era.

“This will bring the number of the country’s pilot FTZs to 18, which serve as pioneers of the country’s reform and opening up as they test new styles of foreign investment management.

“Trade facilitation and transformation of government functions to better integrate the economy with international practices.

“The six new pilot FTZs will be tasked with differentiated reform try-outs.

“For example, development of the marine economy is one of the focuses for the pilot FTZ in Shandong, a coastal province, while building a new type of industrial base is part of the plan,’’ the plan stated.

The plan explained that supporting innovation and development of the manufacturing industry was one of the goals for the pilot FTZ in Jiangsu, a vibrant manufacturing hub in the east.

The Vice Minister of Commerce, Wang Shouwen, said the new pilot FTZs would also highlight institutional innovation, further open-up high-quality development as well as integration with major national strategies.

According to the plan, authorities should draw lessons from the pilot programmes and accumulate experience for reform practices that could be replicated and promoted.

“The move aims to carry out and explore reform and innovation in more areas, strengthen internal drivers for high-quality development through deeper reform and show our resolve to support an open world economy via higher-level opening-up.
“After China started piloting FTZs in Shanghai in 2013, the country established 11 more in its coastal regions including Guangdong and Fujian and inland provinces such as Shaanxi and Sichuan,’’ Shouwen said.

Earlier, the Shanghai pilot free trade zone was expanded, with the addition of a new section.

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