Officials say policy to further open up pilot FTZs a big step

China Daily| Updated: Jul 3, 2023 L M S

China's new policy measures relating to free trade areas, which were announced on Thursday, will better leverage international and domestic markets as well as resources and promote high-quality development, senior officials said on Friday.

These steps will also bolster China's plan to advance its accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement, they said during a news conference held by the State Council Information Office.

Chen Chunjiang, assistant minister of commerce, said Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin municipalities and Guangdong and Fujian provinces, as well as the Hainan Free Trade Port, will take pilot steps with a special focus on the trade in goods and services, the temporary entry of business people, digital trade and the business environment.

Measures with concrete benefits and controllable risks will be extended to more pilot areas after a one-year implementation timeline, and this will help the country create a world-class business environment and further tap into both domestic as well as international markets and resources, Chen said.

Meanwhile, these measures fully manifest China's willingness and capability to join high-standard economic and trade agreements as the country will accumulate experience through pilot programs and enhance its preparedness, Chen added.

China has fleshed out reform measures in the pipeline, as well as laws and regulations that need amendment, to better align with the CPTPP, and has addressed issues raised by member economies in a proactive manner, Chen said.

Going forward, the nation will continue to maintain communication and consultation with all members in order to join the CPTPP at an early date, he said.

Further, domestic and foreign investors will be treated as equals while rolling out new financial services in the pilot areas, to ensure a level-playing field for foreign businesses, said Wang Xin, director of the research bureau at the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank.

Such efforts will help create a more fair, open, stable and transparent environment for both domestic and foreign financial services providers, enhance the convenience of cross-border investment for foreign investors, and broaden the investment channels for enterprises and individuals in the pilot areas, Wang added.

Yang Zhengwei, deputy head of the Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce, said the country's efforts in facilitating the temporary entry of business people will attract international talent and smoothen the flow of technology and capital within the pilot areas.

Greater conveniences will be provided to those executives working for foreign enterprises as well as their spouses and family members that come to China to seek investment opportunities or establish subsidiaries. Such work will help the country make better use of overseas investments, Yang added.

Chen said innovative development of trade in goods remains at the top of the institutional opening-up agenda, to see better progress in the import of remanufactured products and tax-free outbound maintenance of vessels and aircraft.



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