January 03, 2017

President Xi urges more efforts on FTZ construction

CHINESE President Xi Jinping has called for greater efforts to free the mind, innovate and make breakthroughs in free trade zones (FTZs).

The Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone is a strategic move taken to deepen reform and opening up in the new era, Xi said in recent comments on the Shanghai Pilot FTZ.

He said that going forward the key tasks for FTZs needed to be identified, so that initiative could be taken in reforms, and successes rolled out nationwide.

Over the past three years, efforts have been made by Shanghai municipal government, the Ministry of Commerce and others to overcome difficulties creating the Shanghai Pilot FTZ, with a list of important achievements being copied to other parts of the country, the president said.

Efforts must be made to review the experience of the Shanghai Pilot FTZ construction over the past three years, further free the mind, keep abreast of the highest standards, strive for breakthroughs and locate weak links, in the spirit of five development concepts: innovation, coordination, green development, opening up and sharing, Xi said.

"Over the past three years, Shanghai municipal government, the Ministry of Commerce and other government agencies have been focused on reforms with a keen determination and made substantial headway in the construction of the Shanghai Pilot FTZ," Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in recent instructions.

Valuable experience has been accumulated for comprehensively deepening reform and promoting the nation's opening up, Li said.

Key tasks and strengthening weak links in efforts to deepen reform and explore FTZs with a broad perspective should be pushed forward, Li said.

Li pointed out that government functions needed to adapt, and there needed to be new growth in markets for FTZs to play a leading role in a new round of reform and opening up.

Since the Shanghai FTZ was launched on Sept. 29, 2013, other Chinese provincial regions now have FTZs, including those opened in Tianjin Municipality, as well as Fujian and Guangdong provinces in April 2015.

Seven new FTZs in the provinces of Liaoning, Zhejiang, Henan, Hubei, Sichuan and Shaanxi as well as Chongqing Municipality were approved in August.

The Shanghai FTZ has seen about 40,000 newly-registered enterprises emerging over the past three years, surpassing the total number for the previous 20 years before the FTZ opened.