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FTZ to further open up western regions

Updated: Oct 31,2016 9:48 AM

Landscapes, ethnic minorities, and pandas. These are typical associations with Sichuan province. But what about economic development? Sichuan has been a focus of China’s westward expansion, and a new free-trade zone is set to give yet another boost to the area. In today’s show, reporter Liu Li went to Chengdu, the gateway to China’s western region to discuss the expectations for the new free trade zone.

Sichuan has long formed the “new frontier” for foreign investment in China. Take Intel; since the Chengdu branch was set up in 2003, it’s become one of the largest chip packaging and testing centers Intel has worldwide. The company has gone through five rounds of renewed investment. And with the impending free trade zone establishment, the good news just keeps coming.

“Those supportive attitudes, details, and policies are going to help us particularly deal with a new upgrade of technology and facilities, and help us reach a new level of growth in the western part of China, particularly the Sichuan region. We hope the benefits of a free-trade zone will also help us attract more business partners,” said Bian Chenggang, general manager of Intel Products (Chengdu) Ltd.

Intel has already sped up activity in the Chengdu-Chongqing economic zone. Now, they’re looking forward to the benefits of convenient logistics across China when the Sichuan Free Trade Zone comes in to being.

Intel won’t be the only foreign company that will benefit from the implementation of a free-trade zone in Sichuan province. Experts believe it will provide more access and convenience for foreign investors looking to expand in China’s western region.

Experts say Sichuan’s infrastructure has markedly improved. The recently opened Chengdu-Poland express railway, and a second international airport under construction will further open the province up to the outside world. The Free Trade Zone is set to lead Sichuan further towards policy and institutional innovation.

“We will set up more policies that fit the development of the western region, integrated with the Yangtze River economic belt and the Belt and Road Initiative, and some of which will be more high-tech oriented. Sichuan is pushing forward industrial upgrade, to incorporate itself into the global industrial chain,” said Liu Jun, associated professor of Xihua University.

Sichuan has approved licenses for more than ten thousand foreign businesses. The FTZ will be yet another boost to the bustling province of Sichuan, solidifying its position as a leading location for foreign business and investment.