ugust saw the Chinese government issue measures to expand opening-up, including establishing seven new pilot free trade zones (FTZs) and setting Shenzhen as a demonstration pilot zone for socialism with Chinese characteristics.
The plans envisage the establishment of the first pilot FTZs in Shandong, Jiangsu, Hebei, Yunnan and Heilongjiang provinces, as well as Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The six FTZs will be made reform pilot areas to play to local conditions. For example, the FTZ in Shandong will focus on marine industries and economic cooperation with Japan and South Korea, that in Yunnan on cross-border economic cooperation and that in Heilongjiang aims to speed up industrial upgrading and establish a transportation and logistics hub to connect with Russia and Northeast Asia.
China has set up 18 FTZs in over half its provinces and municipalities. Chinese analysts said that more FTZs will help China move closer to international standards for opening-up and better enable it to be at the forefront of globalization.
The central government also set up an additional pilot FTZ in Shanghai Lingang area in early August. As a leader in high-end manufacturing in Shanghai, where Tesla’s new Gigafactory is under construction, the new FTZ, according to the document, will target technical and institutional innovation, especially manufacturing.
Zhou Zhenghua, director of the Development Research Center of Shanghai Municipal People’s Government, told China News Service that compared to Shanghai’s former FTZs that focused on following international trends, the latest FTZ aims to respond to changes in global value chains and lead globalization. It is expected to be a new economic engine.
Having served as China’s window for reform and opening-up since it was first designated as Shenzhen Special Economic Zone in 1980, Shenzhen, a southern city adjacent to Hong Kong, now has a new role as a demonstration pilot zone for socialism with Chinese characteristics. According to the document, Shenzhen is expected to demonstrate cultural and institutional innovation, green and sharing development, metropolis management and rule-of-law construction. The document said the government encourages Shenzhen to establish high-quality FTZs, set up opening-oriented economic institutions that conform to international standards and deepen reform of foreign currency management. The document emphasized that the zone will be helpful to push China’s reform and opening-up to a higher level and set a foundation for expanding reform and opening-up in an all-round way.