17 February 2020

New FTZ applications must wait for Shanghai lead, paper says

China will not expand the pilot free trade zone scheme beyond Shanghai in the short term, the Shanghai Securities News reported Monday, citing people with knowledge of the matter. During the ongoing National People’s Congress session, dozens of provinces and cities have proposed establishing free trade zones, however the applications are unlikely to be approved until the Shanghai zone sums up its experience for the others, probably in September, the report said. The zone’s so-called negative list of banned activities will be shortened and the regulatory system refined, an unnamed source was quoted as saying. In addition, Guangdong deputy governor Xu Shaohua said the Ministry of Commerce has completed a review of Guangdong’s free trade zone application. Xu expects Guangdong to get the first permit.

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