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Shanghai Free Trade Zone to open on Sunday

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail CNTV, September 28, 2013
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For two months speculation has snowballed about what the Free Trade Zone will bring. Hopes are -- it will go far beyond freer trade.

"It covers financial liberalisation, overhaul of administrative approvals, freeing up restrictions on investment and financing, it's a big step. Not just because it challenges those with vested interests, but it challenges our own mindsets about the appropriate role for government in a market economy." Gary Liu, Exec. Dep. Director of Ceibs Lujiazui Inst. of Int´l Finance said.

Shanghai Free Trade Zone to open on Sunday

For two months speculation has snowballed about what the Free Trade Zone will bring. [Xinhua]

The huge ramifications and potential risks have meant delays in the release of policy details. China needs to get the Shanghai experiment right, so it could safely roll out to other areas.

"The Chinese economy is in transition, there are slowdown risks, the property price bubble. If we open up too fast, there could be capital flight, like what South East Asian countries suffered during the financial crisis--the risk of opening too early before the economy is mature." Gary Liu said.

Meanwhile investors are betting on the upside. Free trade zone related stocks have more than doubled in the past month. Joe Zhou, head of research for east China at Jones Lang Lasalle, expects Shanghai office rents to rise by 8% annually, thanks to the free trade zone.

"In logistics, industrial property, we're seeing unprecedented levels of investment interest." Joe Zhou, Head of Research-E, China, Jones Lang Lasalle said.

Aside from restarting reforms, the Free Trade Zone has implications for China's international trade strategy.

"The Shanghai free trade zone can basically get to the level of TPP, if it's successful, it can be a good basis for us to join or to determine whether to join the TPP talks. " Gary Liu said.

"exciting times ahead for this part of Shanghai. but just as Pudong wasn't built overnight, the Shanghai Free Trade Zone is likely to remain a work in progress for quite some time yet."

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