Preparation for seven new free trade zones (FTZs) is moving into the final stages, with the launch date expected within weeks, Security Daily reported on Monday.
The country's third batch of pilot FTZs, which aim to boost inland regions, are likely to be launched as early as the end of the month, Xiao Benhua, professor of Shanghai Lixin University of Accounting and Finance, told the newspaper.
Chinese authorities approved FTZs in Liaoning, Zhejiang, Henan, Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces, as well as Chongqing municipality, last August following the success of four previous zones.
Designed as a testing platform for economic reforms, an FTZ is able to lower the threshold for businesses to set up new companies, cut restrictions on capital flows, and offer more market access to foreign investment.
"The FTZ boom certainly will encourage a large number of foreign companies to either establish or extend operations in these seven provincial-level regions to benefit from favorable tax policies and simplified goods trade procedures," said Li Gang, chairman of the Sichuan provincial branch of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
About 10,000 companies are expected to register in the Henan FTZ that takes in Zhengzhou, Kaifeng and Luoyang cities, Jiao Jinmiao, head of the provincial Commerce Department, said last month.
He said that preparations were nearly done and the upgraded administrative services hall can start working once the FTZ gets the greenlight.