Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, speaks during an economic work conference in east China's Shanghai Municipality, March 29, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua]
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called for greater efforts in building a free trade zone in Shanghai to expand the opening of further domains and improve China's open economy. Premier Li made his comments during a research tour.
Li aslo stressed the importance of boosting domestic demand and undertaking a new round of reforms by taking the advantage of the opening up process. In the event of the establishment of a free trade area in Shanghai, Yangshan Free Trade Port Area, Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone, and Pudong Airport Comprehensive Free Trade Zone, which covers an area of 28 square kilometers, could become a strongpoint of China's new round of reforms and opening up.
The new free trade zone in Shanghai could become a blueprint for other coastal areas, as well as proving a useful exercise in attempting to reform and improve the administrative approval system, state-owned enterprises as well as the country's investment system, said Wang Xinkui, president of Shanghai WTO Affairs Consultation Center, who attended the recent economic work conference in Shanghai.
Premier Li put forward the "reform as dividends" theory at a seminar on reform six days after the conclusion of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). He went on to stress the importance of further opening up during his first research tour as China's new premier. "To cope with challenges of economic globalization, China needs to make multinational companies transfer their Asia-Pacific headquarters to the country through mechanism innovations and expanding opening up," said Li.
He continued: "China should not be scared of opening up and must push forward with the process. It is time for the country to choose a new opening pilot area. Shanghai is qualified for the pilot program and reforms should be promoted the process of opening up in the city."
Shanghai's potential free trade zone is also seen by many as an opportunity to boost both the city's local economy and also the wider economy.
"The free trade zone in Shanghai is just a prelude, and it can stimulate consumption and boost the economy of Shanghai and the country," said Xu Feng, president of Shanghai Shine-Link International Logistics Co.,Ltd., who also attended the economic work conference in Shanghai.
Premier Li also pointed to the fact that the opening up of coastal areas in the four special economic zones spearheaded China's reforms 30 years ago.
"China still has great potential and driving force to boost reforms by opening up and reforms in the country will bring tremendous dividends," he said.