China will comprehensively expand reform and opening-up of the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone in efforts to exert its pioneering role in the country’s new round of reforms, said a circular issued by the State Council on March 31.
The document lists 21 tasks and measures to promote reform and opening-up in the zone. The tasks are mainly concerned with five aspects — building a comprehensive reform pilot area combining opening-up and innovation, establishing a risk and pressure testing area of an open economy system, building a pioneering area in improving government administration, becoming a bridge tower serving the Belt and Road Initiative and market players, and a pilot zone with successes that can be replicated nationwide.
The circular called for a more open and transparent market access model and more business registration reform in the zone.
Innovative efforts include establishing an international-level “single window” system for foreign trade to coordinate, simplify and standardize trade data, building safe and efficient new customs supervision models, running inspection and quarantine risk classification assessments, and starting a competitive regulation model for innovation industries.
As an open economy testing area, the FTZ should open more service industries and high-end manufacturing to foreign investment, carry out new rules for trade facilitation, innovate cross-border services and trade management models, further opening-up and innovation in financing, and establishing free trade port areas.
To improve government administration in the zone, the document urged speeding up administration reform, increase supervision, and optimize government services featuring information interconnection and sharing.
Serving the Belt and Road Initiative, the document urged the Shanghai pilot zone to align the Asia-Pacific and multi- and bilateral cooperation and links with ports along the 21st Century Marine Silk Road, strengthen its financing services and explore competitive offshore tax systems.
The circular also required the FTZ to accumulate successes that can be replicated, especially in the fields of market access, trade facilitation and system innovation, to contribute to the country’s reform and opening-up.
According to the document, by 2020, the trade zone will become a world-class free trade park with free investment and trade, transparent rules, fair and efficient supervision and favorable environment.