Chinese authorities have released detailed plans for a raft of free trade zones situated in different parts of the country.
The Chinese central government held a press conference on 21 September to a shed further light on “general plans” for free trade zones situated in Beijing municipality, Hunan province and Anhui province, as well as the “regional expansion plans” for the free trade zone in Zhejiang province.
Beijing will support “maximum loosening of entry restrictions for services trade” in its free trade zone as part of broader efforts to open up China’s services sector.
Beijing deputy-mayor Yang Jinbai (杨晋柏) said that the plan for the city’s Free Trade Pilot Zone would focus on four areas in particular:
- Creation of an “internationally influential tech innovation centre.”
- Creation of a demonstration zone for expanding opening of the services sector.
- Creation of a digital economy pilot zone.
- Servicing the state-level coordinated development strategy for the Jing-Jin-Ji region, encompassing Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province.
The Hunan Province Free Trade Pilot Zone will “focus on expediting the digitisation of manufacturing, smart conversion of industry and support for the high-quality growth of advanced manufacturing.”
Hunan province deputy-governor He Baoxiang (何报翔) said its free trade pilot zone encompassed the three areas of Changsha, Yueyang and Chenzhou, with each area dedicated to different economic goals:
- The Changsha zone will see the creation of an “international high-end equipment manufacturing base,” as well as a “high-end modernised services sector centre,”and a “Sino-African economic and trade in-depth cooperation advanced zone;”
- The Yueyang zone will focus on port economics, and the creation of an integrated shipping and logistics centre for the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, and an inland port-economy demonstration zone;
- The Chenzhou zone will focus on connections between Hunan, Hong Kong and Macau, and the creation of a platform for the transfer of industry and processing trade upgrades.
The Anhui Province Free Trade Zone will strive to create a “tech innovation base” via the use of R&D platforms, seeking to capitalise on the strengths of the regional tech sector.
The Zhejiang Province Free Trade Pilot Zone will step up efforts to create “new infrastructure” for the Internet of Things (IoT), the Industrial IoT and artificial intelligence, and “actively create a demonstration zone for the development of the digital economy.”
Zhu Congjiu (朱从玖), deputy-governor of Zhejiang province, said that the free trade zone would focus on five key functions:
- Creation of a commodities and resources allocation centre with oil pipelines at its core; creation of an internationally influential pipeline transaction centre and oil and gas storage base, and a world-class oil refining centre and maritime services bases;
- Creation of a new-model international trading centre, and the vigorous development of international trade;
- Creation of an international shipping and logistics hub, and a global smart logistics hub;
- Creation of a digital economy development demonstration zone, and comprehensive support for the industrialisation of digital and the digitisation of industry;
- Creation of an advanced manufacturing cluster.