The ex­pan­sion of the FTZ

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI -

One of the most sig­nif­i­cant events to take place in 2015 was the ex­pan­sion of the China (Shang­hai) Pi­lot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in April, which sig­ni­fied how the city will con­tinue to lead by ex­am­ple and spear­head progress in other free trade zones around the coun­try.

Fol­low­ing ap­proval by the State Coun­cil, a wider area of the city’s flag­ship eco­nomic and com­mer­cial hub, Pudong dis­trict, was in­cor­po­rated into the Shang­hai FTZ, en­larg­ing the zone from 28.78 square kilo­me­ters to 120.72 square kilo­me­ters. The FTZ now cov­ers new ar­eas such as the Lu­ji­azui Fi­nan­cial Area, Jin­qiao Ex­port Pro­cess­ing Zone and Zhangjiang High Tech Park.

Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial data, more than 400 en­ter­prises in Zhangjiang High-Tech Park had opened about 1,000 free trade ac­counts to fi­nance ac­tiv­i­ties, merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions in over­seas mar­kets, and more than 180 ven­ture cap­i­tal firms have been set up in the park since April.

“Fi­nan­cial re­forms have been pro­vid­ing im­pe­tus for in­no­va­tion, with tech­nol­ogy firms tak­ing pol­icy ad­van­tages to ex­pand fund­ing chan­nels and save on op­er­at­ing costs,” said Zhu Min, deputy di­rec­tor of the zone’s man­age­ment com­mit­tee.

Fur­ther­more, the FTZ will be look­ing to ex­pand func­tions of ex­ist­ing free trade ac­counts, foster more over­seas in­vest­ments made by qual­i­fied do­mes­tic in­vestors, in­crease back-flow chan­nels of over­seas ren­minbi in­vest­ment and fo­cus on sup­port­ing the le­gal es­tab­lish­ment of over­seas eq­uity in­vest­ment funds.

This move to boost the FTZ’s phys­i­cal pres­ence was matched with the in­tro­duc­tion of sev­eral poli­cies that seek to en­cour­age more vi­brant trade within the coun­try. In Fe­bru­ary, the par­al­lel car im­port scheme for 17 au­to­mo­bile deal­ers was launched across the coun­try with eight of them op­er­at­ing in Shang­hai.

An­other no­table achieve­ment is the short­en­ing of the “neg­a­tive list”, which stip­u­lates the sec­tors that are closed to for­eign com­pa­nies and in­vest­ments. The orig­i­nal 190-sec­tor list was short­ened to 139, rep­re­sent­ing a con­certed ef­fort by au­thor­i­ties to fur­ther open the coun­try’s doors to the world in or­der to fuel eco­nomic growth.

Shang­hai Party Chief Han Zheng had stressed that ad­di­tional de­vel­op­ment of the Shang­hai FTZ will be aimed at four ma­jor ar­eas — trans­form­ing gov­ern­ment func­tions, in­tro­duc­ing in­no­va­tion to the fi­nan­cial sys­tem, pro­vid­ing im­pe­tus to trans­form Shang­hai into an in­ter­na­tional fi­nance, trade, ship­ping and eco­nomic cen­ter, and aid­ing the trans­for­ma­tion of the Pudong dis­trict.

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