China to set up 3 more free trade zones

China to set up 3 more free trade zones
Success of first FTZ in Shanghai spurs China to set up more in other regions.

BEIJING - China will establish three new free trade zones (FTZs), the government said Tuesday, more than one year after setting up the first in the commercial hub of Shanghai.

Commerce ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said that the new zones would be in Guangdong province in southern China, Fujian in the east, and the provincial-level city of Tianjin southeast of Beijing.

The new zones would be on a trial basis, he added.

"The three regions are making plans on the FTAs based mainly on the trial programmes in the Shanghai FTA with local geographical and industrial features taken into account," Shen told reporters at a monthly briefing.

The move is intended to "form new impetus for reform and opening up" and "complement" the Shanghai FTZ, he said.

The Shanghai free trade zone was set up in September last year with vows to implement a range of financial reforms, including full convertibility of the yuan currency and freer interest rates.

Those promises have yet to be fulfilled, but in September this year China launched a gold market in the FTZ and Microsoft launched its Xbox One in China -- made possible by a new policy for the zone.

China's cabinet also approved further opening of other sectors in the zone, including allowing foreign investors to set up wholly owned companies to design yachts, manufacture aviation engine components and process green tea through joint ventures with Chinese partners.

About 12,600 companies had registered in the zone one year after it was established, but only 14.2 per cent, or 1,784, were overseas firms, according to official figures.

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