Hainan Province Establishes Pilot Free Trade District in Haikou

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The Hainan local government has announced the establishment of a pilot free trade district in the provincial capital of Haikou, just following the unveiling of plans to convert the entire province into a free trade zone.

At a press conference held on 3 June the Hainan province government announced the establishment of the Jiangdong New District (江东新区) in Haikou, to serve as a key advance area for the establishment of the Hainan free trade pilot zone.

According to the press conference the Jiangdong New District will be strategically positioned as a “trial zone for the comprehensive deepening of reform and opening, a state ecological civilisation trial zone, an international tourism consumption centre, and a major state strategic services guarantee zone.”

In mid-April Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that the whole of Hainan province would be converted into a free trade zone, and serve as host to China’s first “international free trade port.”

Beijing also hopes to make Hainan a hub for sports betting and shipping, as well as energy and commodity trading.

Chen Bo (陈波), executive chair of the Free Trade Zone Research Center at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology, said to 21st Century Business Herald that the establishment of the Jiangdong New District is the first step for exploration and establishment of the new reform policy for Hainan province.

According to Chen, the establishment of Jiangdong also indicates that Hainan will be cautious in its implementation of pilot free trade zone reforms, first conducting trials that are restricted to small areas.

Bai Ming (白明), vice-head of International Market Research Institute at the Ministry of Commerce, said that Haikou will be at the forefront of advance trials for reforms in Hainan province given its “comparatively mature conditions,” and there is still the possibility that other new districts will be established in the city.

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