New free trade zones to speed up pace of growth

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By ZHONG­NAN in Hangzhou and LIU CE in Shenyang Con­tact the writ­ers through zhong­nan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s new free trade zones are ex­pected to cre­ate new growth mo­men­tum to de­velop the ser­vice, lo­gis­tics and high-end man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tors via for­eign in­vest­ment and do­mes­tic sup­port in both in­land and costal provinces, busi­ness ex­perts and of­fi­cials said on Thurs­day.

Their com­ments came after the cen­tral govern­ment de­cided to set up seven new FTZs in the provinces of Liaon­ing, Zhe­jiang, He­nan, Hubei, Sichuan and Shaanxi, and in Chongqing mu­nic­i­pal­ity, tak­ing the to­tal num­ber of such zones to 11 as it looks to repli­cate the success of pre­vi­ous tri­als, the Min­istry of Com­merce an­nounced on Wed­nes­day.

FTZs are de­signed to pro­vide greater ac­cess and con­ve­nience for for­eign com­pa­nies to ex­pand in China and for Chi­nese com­pa­nies to move money abroad — in di­verse ser­vices and fi­nan­cial op­er­a­tions, as well as in man­u­fac­tur­ing.

For for­eign com­pa­nies es­pe­cially from de­vel­oped economies, FTZs in these provinces and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties can help es­tab­lish beach­heads quickly in im­por­tant ser­vices such as health­care, ed­u­ca­tion and trans­porta­tion, said Liu Chenyang, a re­searcher with the APEC study cen­ter at Nankai Univer­sity in Tian­jin.

The first and sec­ond batch of China’s FTZs are all in the coun­try’s coastal re­gions, in­clud­ing Shang­hai, Guang­dong and Tian­jin.

Com­merce Min­is­ter Gao Hucheng said among the suc­cess­ful tri­als in the first two groups of FTZs was the in­tro­duc­tion of a “neg­a­tive list”, which spec­i­fies in­vest­ment sec­tors as of­flim­its to for­eign in­vestors and al­lows in­dus­tries not on the list to fol­low the same new in­vest­ment rules as do­mes­tic firms.

Xing Houyuan, vice-pres­i­dent of the Chi­nese Acad­emy of International Trade and Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion, a think tank un­der the Min­istry of Com­merce, said the new batch will most likely give pri­or­ity to in­land ar­eas that play a key role in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, con­nect­ing with coun­tries across Europe and Asia.

Cen­tral China’s He­nan prov­ince will tap its po­ten­tial in trans­porta­tion and lo­gis­tics, and Hubei will build high-tech bases and fa­cil­i­tate the de­vel­op­ment of the Yangtze River Eco­nomic Belt.

Gao Hucheng, min­is­ter of com­merce

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