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Free trade area shows Shanghai is in the zone of progress

Updated: Feb 26,2015 2:51 PM

Premier Li Keqiang inspected the Shanghai FTZ on Sep 18-19, 2014.

Although the pilot Shanghai free-trade zone was established just over a year ago, it has already pioneered an approach that both embodies the latest opening up and paves the way for other zones.

Wang Xinkui, a prominent planner of the Shanghai FTZ, has witnessed its amazing progression and was not surprised when the State Council decided in December that three more zones will be established in Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian.

“As the Shanghai FTZ has gone from success to success, China is also entering a critical stage,’’ Wang, president of Shanghai WTO Affairs Consultation Center, said.

In March, 2013, Wang was among five industrial representatives who were invited to a symposium in Shanghai chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.

Li called on Shanghai to ambitiously explore piloting a free-trade zone, further expand opening up and “let opening up usher in a new round of reforms’’.

Wang can easily recall the sense of pride and sense of mission he felt when he heard Li’s initiatives, and he called them “strategic’’ and profound.

Wang also recalls the rapt attention Li paid to Wang’s eight-minute address, as the Premier constantly took notes.

During the Two Sessions in 2014, Wang submitted a report to the Premier about the expansion of the zone.

The report was submitted in the morning and a response was ready in the afternoon, Wang observed.

Profile of Wang Xinkui.

In addition to his efforts in advocating the pilot program in Shanghai, the Premier has laid out plans to expand the use of the innovative paradigms adopted by the zone.

Li Jian, head of a research institute under the Ministry of Commerce, praised the progress in embracing the other three free-trade zones.

The pilot programs are hugely significant for China’s meeting the target of more reforms and opening up, Li said.