China (Zhejiang) Pilot Free Trade Zone starts operation in Zhoushan
A press conference is held in the island city of Zhoushan, Zhejiang province on April 1 to announce the launch of the China (Zhejiang) Pilot Free Trade Zone and to provide some information about it. [Photo/Zhejiang Fabu WeChat]
One of China's seven newly-approved free trade zones, the China (Zhejiang) Pilot Free Trade Zone, located in the island city of Zhoushan, has been officially launched according to a provincial government statement at a press conference on April 1.
The 119.95-square-kilometer zone, made up of both inland and anchorage areas, is a key part of the country's Belt and Road Initiative and the Yangtze River Economic Belt. With a focus on institutional innovation, it aims to forge a demonstration area in opening-up of ocean gateways, trade liberalization of bulk commodities and global allocations of resources.
The government put forward five major tasks at the press conference to fulfill the pilot role.
To better serve the development of the free trade zone, bringing about a more efficient administration system and reforming government functions will be priorities in the pilot work. Zhejiang is going to build a fairer market access mechanism and make full use of foreign investment by setting unified standards and enhancing the regulatory system.
The zone's focus on oil refueling will be further promoted by scaling up storage capacity, increasing the openness of oil processing industries and boosting trade in oil products.
Zhejiang expects more investment by developing the ore transfer and aviation industries. An international ore transfer base will settle in the free trade zone, and Zhoushan's aviation-focused industrial park will house a Boeing completion and delivery center and supporting industries like aircraft manufacturing and repair.
The free trade zone is going to explore financial innovation to be more open to foreign investment and have fewer restrictions on capital flow, according to the pilot work. The cross-border use of the Chinese currency, the renminbi (RMB), and financial services for international cargo ships will be boosted.
Additionally, customs procedures will be eased in the zone in safe and convenient ways to assist foreigners and promote the region's functional integration.
Zhejiang's long-term plan for the free trade zone shows the province's determination to within the next three years make the free trade zone an excellent pilot area benefiting trade and investment with a cluster of high-end industries, a good legal environment, all-round financial services, efficient regulations and a strong positive effect on surrounding regions.
The gate of China (Zhejiang) Pilot Free Trade Zone in Zhoushan city [Photo by Yao Feng]