Plans for free trade zones in China approved
Overall plans for three experimental free trade zones (FTZs) in Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian, and improvements to the Shanghai experimental FTZ were approved Tuesday at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.
Experimental FTZs are important for exploring new paths and acquiring new experiences, said a statement released after the meeting.
The statement said the Shanghai FTZ had made "positive progress" over more than a year, generating a model that can be replicated elsewhere.
The Shanghai FTZ, launched in September 2013, was a testing bed for administration, investment, finance and services reform.
The new zones, as well as the Shanghai FTZ, will continue striving for institutional innovation, according to the statement.
The FTZs are part of a new, more open economic system, exploring new models for regional economic cooperation, and establishing a law-based climate for business and commerce, the statement said.
Bai Ming, a trade expert with the Ministry of Commerce (MOC), said FTZs can boost exploration of experiences, which can be promoted across the country.
While following in the steps of the Shanghai FTZ, the three new FTZs will experiment on their own strengths, said Li Guanghui, a trade expert with the MOC.
For example, the Guangdong FTZ will carry out programs on economic integration with Hong Kong and Macao, the Fujian FTZ will stress unified development with Taiwan, and the Tianjin FTZ will highlight coordinated growth with Beijing and Hebei, Li said.
Li Wenpu, vice president of the Xiamen University school of economics, described the FTZs as a pressure test for reform measures and said the free trade zones will press ahead with reforms like streamlining administration, delegation of power and improving efficiency of government departments.