China establishes a free trade zone network
China establishes a free trade zone network
Author: CSEBA / SEEbiz / Belt-and-Road Portal
16th October 2019
BEIJING - Good news has been delivered from China’s pilot free trade zones as foreign investment floods in.

China’s Jiangsu province is home to one of the country’s 6 newly-established pilot Free Trade Zones (FTZs). Furthermore, the Cambridge University-Nanjing Center of Technology and Innovation was established in September in Nanjing, the capital city of this province located in China’s east.

Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University, said Nanjing has provided a very good environment for innovation because its economy is full of vigor and the pilot FTZ makes it easier for foreign investment to enter the city.

In Suzhou, also located in Jiangsu province, 32 enterprises have taken root with projects signed between foreign enterprises and their Chinese counterparts.

Bosch Automotive Products (Suzhou) Co., Ltd is one of them. Andreas Andorfer, general manager of the company, said the pilot FTZ in Suzhou means an opportunity for not only the Suzhou Industrial Park, but also Bosch.

In other places where the newly-established pilot FTZs are located, stories of successful cooperation can now be heard on a daily basis.

About 10 foreign enterprises have entered the pilot FTZ in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southwest China on the very day the zone was inaugurated.

In the Hebei pilot FTZ, companies from France, Russia, Germany, South Korea, Japan, India and the United States are making enquiries on investment or seeking to develop trade relations with Chinese companies.

In the pilot FTZ in east China’s Shandong province, a China-South Korea scientific innovation hub joint construction project has been recently introduced. In southwest China’s Yunnan province, $110 million worth of foreign capital has been injected into the pilot FTZ.

In northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, a wood processing factory jointly owned by Chinese and Russian companies has started construction, and the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency has opened a trade office.

By now, the number of pilot FTZs in China has reached 18. In the first half of the year, 12 pilot FTZs attracted 70 billion yuan worth of foreign investment, 14 percent of the country’s total. The amount of foreign investment used increased by 20 percent, 13 percentage points higher than the country’s average growth at 7 percent.

“We believe that the six newly-established pilot FTZs will become popular destinations for foreign investment,” said Chinese vice minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen.

The six new pilot FTZs, with three of them established in coastal provinces, feature different development priorities. For instance, the Jiangsu pilot FTZ focuses on building an open economy, developing a real economy, and propelling industrial transformation.

The Guangxi pilot FTZ seeks to tap cooperation potential with ASEAN members, build a land-sea corridor for international trade and develop border areas, so as to turn Guangxi into an important link on the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

The six pilot FTZs place great emphasis on expanding opening up, promoting institutional innovation and improving business environment.

The Shandong pilot FTZ regards institutional reform as its priority. It will carry out reforms on 16 administrative items, and release more than 20 guidelines on optimizing administrative services.

The purpose is to achieve cross-border approval of business licenses and permits between China, South Korea and Japan. Under the scheme, investors will be able to get a business license in as quickly as five days.

For example, a company from South Korea has already registered itself in the FTZ through this model, according to an official of the FTZ work office based in Yantai, Shandong.

Zhang Jianping, director of the Research Center for Regional Economic Cooperation of the Institute of International Trade and Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Commerce, said the pilot FTZs will take efforts to implement the Foreign Investment Law, which is on the way, to improve trade and investment facilitation and liberalization, and build a better business environment.

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