A total of 11 pilot free trade zones (FTZ), including Shanghai, Guangdong, and Sichuan, marked a milestone for Chinese pilot FTZs on April 1, by uniformly initiating a proposal on coordinated opening-up and development at a forum held in Chengdu.
The proposal set the tone for the next phase of FTZs, featuring holistic, systematic, and coordinated development. This entails inter-connected systems, coordinated industries, a sharing platform, and other reforms.
Five momentous innovative systems were nailed down, namely, governmental administration upgrading, bi-directional investment management, regulation services for trades, financial opening-up and innovation, and industrial cluster innovation.
Meanwhile, the pilot FTZ development will go hand-in-hand with comprehensively deepening reforms, supply-side structural reform, among others.
The role of FTZs in further opening-up has already come into play, which will continue to scale new heights with all FTZs merging into a unified special economic zone, said Zhao Jinping, a researcher at the Development Research Center of the State Council.
In 2007, 6,841 foreign enterprises sprung up in 11 FTZs, with 99.2 percent being established through file management, and their actual use of foreign capital reached 103.9 billion yuan ($16.6 billion), up 18.1 percent year-on-year, which was 10 percentages points higher than the overall growth rate of the whole nation, Zhao added.