The State Council has issued an overall plan for China (Henan) Pilot Free Trade Zone. Starting the free trade zone will be a major measure to increase reform and promote the Belt and Road Initiative, the circular said.
The Henan free trade zone (FTZ) will serve as a modern comprehensive traffic hub in the development of Belt and Road, a pilot zone for all-around reform and a demonstration zone for inland open economy, according to the circular.
In the next three to five years, the free trade zone will create an innovative system compliant with international trade and investment rules, with progress made in facilitating investment, attracting high-end industries, building a growing traffic and logistic network, and enhancing supervision, which will take an active role in leading neighboring regions.
Three areas of 119.77 square kilometers will be used to run the free trade zone, including areas in Zhengzhou (73.17 square kilometers), Kaifeng (19.94 square kilometers) and Luoyang (26.66 square kilometers), respectively.
Zhengzhou free trade area will prioritize intelligent terminals, high-end equipment and auto manufacturing, and other advanced manufacturing sectors, and include advanced services such as modern financial services and creative design.
Kaifeng will focus on development of service industries, while Luoyang will center on high-end manufacturing and modern services.
The circular rolled out many measures to help run the Henan FTZ, such as continuing reform in administrative systems for easier approval procedures, and improving market supervision through better online information platforms.
To enhance administrative service efficiency, efforts should be made to complete power lists and responsibility lists of administrative departments and promote public-private partnerships (PPP).
Also, the circular urged the free trade zone to improve the use of foreign investment, offering national treatment for foreign investment while building negative lists.
The circular also stressed trade upgrades, with measures carried out to promote bulk commodity international trade relying on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange, and develop e-commerce based on the China (Zhengzhou) Cross-border E-commerce Comprehensive Pilot Area.
Efforts should also be made to enhance customs clearance and supervision, and expand reform and innovation in financial sectors to facilitate investment and financing.
In addition, the FTZ should better serve as the traffic and logistic hub for Belt and Road through more international cargo airlines and comprehensive inland traffic network.
Meanwhile, base airlines and renowned domestic and overseas logistics operator should be introduced in the FTZ, the plan said.