Tourists buy goods at a duty-free shop in Sanya, Hainan province, on Oct 4.[Photo/China News Service]
The China (Hainan) Free Trade Pilot Zone will continue to deepen reforms and accelerate the establishment of an open, ecological and service-oriented industrial system in line with advanced international standards, a senior official of Hainan province said.
China announced in April the transforming of the entire Hainan Island into a pilot free trade zone and granted Hainan much more autonomy than that given to the other 11 FTZs, with an aim to build Hainan into a standard bearer for the country’s reform.
In the past six months, Hainan has made a good start in establishing a well-linked administrative mechanism, introducing headquarter economy projects and talent resources from the outside world, conducting institutional reforms and opening up to the outside world, Sun Dahai, deputy secretary-general of the Communist Party of China Hainan provincial committee, said on Nov 19.
The State Council issued the General Plan for China (Hainan) Free Trade Pilot Zone on Oct 16, introducing a large number of new policies to encourage overseas investment in Hainan FTZ to promote high-standard and high-quality reform and opening-up.
The opening of Hainan Island shows China’s initiative to further open up and promote economic globalization, Wang Shouwen, vice-minister of commerce, said at a news conference held in Beijing to introduce the general plan.
Statistics from Hainan Provincial Department of Commerce showed that since April Hainan has signed 159 contracts with world-leading enterprises and companies, many of which are among the world’s top 500 companies. A total of 75 projects have been implemented and more than 400 are under negotiation.
Sun said that to ensure Hainan achieves crucial progress in building the pilot free trade zone by 2020 and lay a sound foundation for gradually building a free trade port with Chinese characteristics, the island will accelerate construction of a new open economy system, which will substantially relax market access for overseas capital.
“We will deepen the opening-up of modern agriculture, high-tech industries and modern service industries, and intensify the opening-up of key areas such as the seed industry, medical treatment, education, tourism, telecommunications, the internet, culture, finance, aviation, marine economy and new-energy automobile manufacturing,” said Sun, who is also executive deputy director of Hainan FTZ working committee office.
“We will encourage cluster development of modern service industry, and enhance international shipping capacity and high-end tourism service capabilities,” said Sun, adding that Hainan would seek more cooperation in the fields of science and technology.
Chi Fulin, president of China Institute for Reform and Development, suggested that Hainan pioneer free trade policies in tourism, shopping, healthcare, culture and entertainment, education and shipping to stimulate market vitality and achieve breakthroughs in opening up the service sector.
Shen Xiaoming, governor of Hainan province, said: “Hainan boasts unique advantages in resources and location, and has become an important window of China’s reform and opening-up. Hainan is facing significant historic opportunities, and it is taking new responsibilities.”