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China announces six new pilot free trade zones
Published on: 2019-08-28
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010China is expanding its free trade zone pilot program to some underdeveloped provinces to bolster local economies and beef up trade ties with neighboring countries as the world’s second-largest economy is locked in the trade war with the United States.

The State Council, China’s cabinet, announced a plan Monday to set up six new free trade zones (FTZs), increasing the number of pilot zones in the country to 18. In China, FTZs are designated geographic areas with preferential business and trade policies that are intended to encourage international business while testing economic reform measures.

011The new FTZ locations include coastal provinces Shandong, Jiangsu and Hebei, landlocked provinces Guangxi and Yunnan, and the rustbelt province of Heilongjiang in northeast China.

Shandong and Jiangsu are China’s second- and third-largest provincial economies, while Guangxi, Yunnan and Heilongjiang are among the poorest.

The southwest province of Yunnan borders Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar, while the southern autonomous region Guangxi also borders Vietnam. Heilongjiang, one of China’s old heavy-industry hubs, borders Russia in the northeast.

013The total area of the six new trade zones will cover nearly 120 square kilometers, according to a document on the new FTZ plan released Monday. Each zone will have its own focus and reform missions based on their geographic features, according to the plan.

For instance, the FTZ in eastern coastal Shandong will focus on industrial upgrade, maritime economy development and promoting economic cooperation with Japan and South Korea.


China launched its first pilot free trade zone in Shanghai, which recently expanded to include the new Lingang area

The Hebei FTZ will support the regional integration of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, focusing on development of big data, digital trade and green finance. Yunnan will promote cooperation with Southeast Asian countries in cross-border insurance and other financial service businesses, while Heilongjiang will seek to deepen China-Russia trade ties.

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