China's three newly established pilot free trade zones will further
facilitate the nation's high-level opening-up and boost high-quality
growth through deeper reforms, especially in the areas of digital
economy, high-end manufacturing and regional integration, senior
government officials and experts said on Monday.
They made the remarks after the State Council, the nation's Cabinet,
released plans for the new pilot zones in Beijing and in Hunan and
Anhui provinces on Monday, boosting the number of the country's FTZs to
Wang Shouwen, vice-minister of commerce, said the move shows the
country's resolve to pursue high-level opening-up and ensure the safety
and stability of the industrial and supply chains.
China set up its first FTZ in Shanghai in 2013 to usher in more
foreign investment and promote trade and regional integration. Since
then, the country has added 20 zones, including those in such perse
areas as the coastal provinces of Fujian and Guangdong and the inland
provinces of Shaanxi and Sichuan.
The pilot FTZ in Beijing will cover an area of 119.68 square
kilometers, including three areas for science and technology innovation,
international business services and high-end industries, according to
the government plan.
Beijing will implement the system of pre-establishment national
treatment plus a negative list for foreign investment, improve trade
facilitation and relax restrictions on service trade access in the
Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region where conditions permit, said Yang Jinbai,
A negative list determines which economic activities are prohibited, while all others are considered to be allowed.
Pre-establishment national treatment refers to foreign investments
being treated similarly to domestic investments as they gain market
Beijing will build a pilot zone for digital and big data businesses
to boost technological innovation and opening-up of the services sector
and digital economy, he said.
The pilot FTZs in Hunan and Anhui will cover areas of 119.76 square
kilometers and 119.86 square kilometers, respectively, government
He Baoxiang, vice-governor of Hunan, said that with new policy
support and backed by a large number of export-oriented manufacturers,
construction projects and service providers, the FTZ in Hunan aims to
boost outbound direct investment and international cooperation, in
particular with African countries and those related to the Belt and Road
The FTZ in Hunan will further improve the local business environment
while promoting innovation and improving the intellectual property
protection system, as well as encouraging more cross-industry
cooperation with companies in the province, said Fernando Teixeira, CEO
of Valin ArcelorMittal Automotive Steel Co in China, a Sino-European
joint venture that has been working in steel production in Hunan for
more than six years.
"Benefiting from strong transportation links to the eastern hub with
Shanghai, the southern hub with Guangzhou and the western hub with
Chongqing, we believe the Hunan FTZ will enable tremendous opportunities
for the growth of central China," he said.
The Anhui FTZ, located in the Yangtze River Delta region, will boost
the region's development and high-end manufacturing, integrated
circuit, artificial intelligence and cross-border e-commerce businesses,
said Zhang Xi, Anhui's vice-governor.
Zhu Congjiu, vice-governor of Zhejiang, said Ningbo will be allowed
to expand its pilot FTZ and the provincial government has made specific
plans to build the zone into a global shipping hub, influential oil and
gas resource allocation center, supply chain innovation center and a
high-quality smart manufacturing demonstration area.
Wei Jianguo, vice-chairman of the China Center for International
Economic Exchanges, said China's latest move to establish and expand
FTZs demonstrates its efforts to further open up its economy despite the
COVID-19 pandemic and rising unilateralism globally.
While China is working to give full play to its huge domestic
market, it is still committed to promoting economic globalization, he