Pivot in go-west campaign

[email protected] China Post

Editor’s Note: In this third part of the special series on the new free trade zones being set up across China, we look at the three projects coming up in Chongqing, Sichuan and Xi’an. The FTZs enjoy preferential policies, more favorable taxes, easier customs clearance, and simpler business procedures. Each FTZ has a focus on certain industry segments, into which it will deploy capital and top talent. The special package below informs you how the three new FTZs will transform the economic, cultural and social fabric of the areas they serve. As the latest addition to China’s Free Trade Zones project, Chongqing plans to become a pivot in the country’s go-west campaign-the national effort to develop the vast western regions, home to energy and mineral resources crucial to its future growth.

The central government announced the launch of the China (Chongqing) Pilot Free Trade Zone on April 1. The third batch of FTZs includes Chongqing municipality, Henan, Hubei, Liaoning, Shaanxi, Sichuan and Zhejiang provinces.

The total number of FTZs has reached 11 after the first FTZ (Shanghai) opened for business in 2013.

Chongqing FTZ, spanning about 120 square kilometers, comprises three parts-Liangjiang New Area, Xiyong area and Guoyuan Port area.

According to the FTZ blueprint, Chongqing will build itself into a pilot zone of inland free trade featuring a convenient investment and trade environment, efficient supervision, complete finance services as well as a sound legal environment for business.

In addition to practices and policies common to all the FTZs, “Chongqing will speed up the construction of a comprehensive international logistics system based on the current Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe intercontinental railway,” said Vice-Mayor Liu Guiping at the press conference of the launch of the Chongqing FTZ.

“We are going to explore strategies and policies to support the Belt and Road Initiative and find out how to make land trade rules.”

In three years, Chongqing FTZ will become the center of international logistics, inland services trade and inland finance, Liu said.

As the only municipality in western China, the traditional industrial hub, located at the intersection of the Belt and Road Initiative’s trade route and the Yangtze River Economic Zone, has witnessed fast and steady economic growth in recent years and led the country’s GDP growth rate table for two consecutive years in 2014 and 2015.