China unveils plans to deepen reform, opening-up in FTZs

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, May 24, 2018
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China has published plans to further deepen reform and opening-up in pilot free trade zones (FTZs) of three coastal areas to improve the business environment and push for wider opening to the world.

The reform in FTZs in Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian will focus on high-quality development, supply-side structural reform, institutional innovation, and risk prevention, according to a document issued by the State Council, China's cabinet.

A better business environment that is law-based, international and accommodating will take shape, and the FTZs will take the lead in building institutional systems that meet international rules on investment and trade.

The FTZs will be granted bigger decision-making power in reforms to help make new ground in pursuing opening-up on all fronts, improve government management, and foster new growth drivers and competitiveness.

The development of the FTZs will be pushed forward under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, according to the document.

China launched its first FTZ in Shanghai in 2013 to experiment with new reform policies. Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian were allowed to set up the second group of FTZs more than a year later. Another seven were then added across the country.

An array of replicable achievements of reform and innovation have been made and promoted to other parts of the country, including "single-window" customs clearance, online government services for enterprises, and credit risks-based market supervision.

"Dividends of reform and opening-up have been gradually unleashed, and the goal has been achieved in general," said the document.

Guangdong's plan listed measures covering 18 sectors, ranging from building a legal environment with fairness and integrity, carrying out financial opening-up experiment programs, and promoting liberalization of services trade among Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao.

The FTZ in the south China province will develop into a pioneering area for building new institutions of an open economy, a gateway hub for high-level opening-up, and a cooperation template for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

The FTZ in north China's port city of Tianjin introduced 16 measures of innovating market resource allocation system, incubating frontier and advanced technology, and improving coordinated development.

Those measures aim to build Tianjin into an open economy, increase its global competitiveness, and facilitate construction of the pilot zone of coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei.

Fujian planned 21 measures for its FTZ in areas including building a high-standard, internationalized business environment, pushing for standardised and transparent government services, and stepping up financial cooperation with Taiwan.

Economic cooperation across the Taiwan Strait will be expanded, and the core area of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road will see faster development, according to the document. 

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