A pilot free trade zone will be established in Southwest China’s Chongqing municipality, according to a plan issued by the State Council on March 31.
The move aims to develop the inland open economy and promote the Belt and Road Initiative and Yangtze River economic belt development.
In addition, Chongqing’s pilot free trade zone will serve as a major pivot to interconnect the Belt and Road Initiative and the Yangtze River economic belt and implement the strategy to develop China’s western regions.
A high-standard free trade zone featuring investment and trade convenience, high-end industrial clusters, efficient regulation, and improved financial service and international logistic hub will be set up in three to five years.
According to the plan, the pilot free trade zone will cover an area of 111.98 square kilometers, including Chongqing’s Liangjiang, Xiyong, and Guoyuan port districts.
The three districts will play different roles within the pilot free zone: Liangjiang will focus on high-end industrial clusters such as cloud computing and biological medicine; Xiyong will serve as the demonstration zone for transformation and upgrades of processing trade, and Guoyuan port will be built into a major logistics center.
Efforts will be made to further lift restrictions on foreign investment and improve opening-up and transparency to invite foreign capital, technologies, and talent into the region.
The pilot free trade zone will also be built into an international processing trade hub with high-end and high value-added industrial chain.
Internet Plus development will be boosted as efforts will be made to further integrate the internet with modern manufacturing industries and promote big data analysis in business service, healthcare, education, finance, and public management.
Efforts will also be made in regulations of the pilot zone, customs mechanism innovation, financial opening-up, cross-border financial services, and financial risk control service systems.
According to the plan, based on combined transportation of China-Europe international railway, customs clearance cooperation will be improved between the pilot free trade zone and customs offices, inspection and quarantine departments, and standard certification institutions of the Belt and Road countries.
Furthermore, the plan will promote coordinated development of the Yangtze River economic belt and Chengdu-Chongqing city clusters.