Qingdao city in Shandong province has applied to the State Council to set up its own free trade zone (FTZ), 21st Century Business Herald reported Thursday, citing unnamed sources. The local government expects the proposed FTZ to help turn Qingdao into a hub for a maritime Silk Route being planned by the National Development and Reform Commission. The FTZ will be located in the Qianwan bonded port area and will cover 26.9 square kilometres, slightly smaller than the one in Shanghai. Qingdao had a gross domestic product of 800 billion yuan (US$132.18 billion) in 2013. It is only an hour’s flight from South Korea and Japan, making it a suitable base in the planned China-Japan-South Korea free trade area, deputy mayor Luan Xin was quoted as saying.
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