Date
22 November 2017
The new free trade zones are intended to deepen China's ongoing financial reform, according to a statement. Photo: AFP
The new free trade zones are intended to deepen China's ongoing financial reform, according to a statement. Photo: AFP

China approves three new free trade zones

China has given approval for three more free trade zones, unfazed by the poor performance of a similar special economic area in Shanghai after 18 months of operation.

The new trade zones will be in Guangdong, Fujian and Tianjin, French news agency AFP reported Wednesday.

They received approval from the Communist Party politburo at a meeting hosted by President Xi Jinping on Tuesday, the report said, citing state media.

In December, China’s commerce ministry said the FTZs would be set up in those locations.

The Guangdong FTZ is aimed at ramping up economic integration with Hong Kong while the Fujian zone is focused on Taiwan. The Tianjin FTZ is part of a push to promote economic cooperation with Beijing and Hebei province.

Their official opening has yet to be announced.

A statement from the politburo said the new FTZs are expected to “deepen reform” and “expand opening up to explore new approaches”.

It said the Shanghai zone has shown “positive progress” since its founding, state news agency Xinhua reported.

The Chinese commercial hub set up its FTZ in September 2013, promising a range of financial reform, including full convertibility of the yuan and free interest rates but they remain unfulfilled.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai said this month that 73 percent of the 377 companies in its annual business climate survey said the FTZ offers “no tangible benefits” for them.

A former top official of the Shanghai FTZ, executive deputy director Dai Haibo, is under investigation, authorities said earlier this month but gave no details.

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