On 21 September 2020, China unveiled a blueprint for four free trade zones (FTZs) to uplift economic openness and development.
Three new FTZs are launched in Beijing and the provinces of Hunan and Anhui. The forth, in Zhejiang province, will be expanded.
On 21 September 2020, the State Council issued the blueprints for launching three new pilot free trade zones (“FTZs”) in Beijing and the provinces of Anhui and Hunan and expanding one existing FTZ in Zhejiang province. To date, China has seen the total number of FTZs growing to twenty-one, initially in coastal areas and, more recently, inland.
The new FTZs aim at enhancing liberalisation and facilitation in trade and investment via reforms and innovations. The blueprint has detailed the strategic position of each FTZ, as summarised below.
Innovation area: Next-generation IT, biology and health, high-tech services, digital economy, investment centres, etc.
Service area: Digital trade, cultural trade, trade fairs, medical and health care, international shipping and logistics, cross-border financing.
Hi-tech areas: Business services, international financing, cultural and creative business, bio-tech and health.
Hefei area: High-end manufacturing, integrated circuits, artificial intelligence, display devices, quantum information, fin-tech, cross-border e-commerce.
Wuhu area: Connected cars, smart household appliances, aviation, robotics, shipping services, cross-border e-commerce.
Bengbu area: Silicon materials, new bio-based materials, alternative energy.
Changsha area: High-end manufacturing, next generation IT bio-medicine, e-commerce, agricultural technology, Sino-Africa cooperation.
Yueyang area: Shipping and logistics, e-commerce, next generation IT.
Chenzhou area: Non-ferrous metal processing, modern logistics, collaboration with Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Area.
Expansion from Zhoushan region to include:
Ningbo area: Oil and gas distribution centre, supply chain innovation, new materials, advance manufacturing.
Hangzhou area: Next-generation artificial intelligence, fin-tech, e-commerce, digital economy.
Jinhua-Yiwu area: Free trade centre for small commodities, e-trading, international logistics hub, platform for Belt-and-Road initiative.
Beijing FTZ: Digitalisation
Anhui FTZ: High-tech
Hunan FTZ: Cooperation
Zhejiang FTZ: Trade facilitation
The new four-FTZ master plan heralds further opening up and reforms in a vast range of areas, not independently but in relation with other regions and FTZs. It bears significant economic implications in bringing about scientific and technological revolution and upgrading China’s foreign trade and emerging next-generation industries. It is expected that more fiscal and tax incentives will be offered to support the plan.
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