Article – China will quicken pace of introducing free trade zones

16 March 2015
Clifford Coonan
Irish Times
As growth slows, reforming the business environment in China has become a plank of the government’s strategy to keep the economy on track, and President Xi Jinping told lawmakers at the NPC that China would speed up the process of free trade zones (FTZs).
FTZs are meant to reduce red tape and offer freedom from regulatory constraints unavailable in other parts of the country, and Irish companies are watching them closely as they may make doing business in China easier.
The first was the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, introduced nearly two years ago, but the concept has so far failed to take off in a meaningful way.
“Innovation is the most important driving force for development,” Mr Xi told Shanghai business leaders at the NPC.
The model for FTZs is the special economic zone in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen in the 1980s, which transformed southern China into an export machine and was itself modelled on the free trade zone at Shannon airport.
China announced it would set up three new trade zones in Guangdong, Fujian and Tianjin last December, based on experience drawn from the zone in Shanghai.
The entrance to Shanghai Free Trade Zone. It was introduced nearly two years ago, but the trade zone concept has so far failed to take off in a meaningful way. Photograph: Reuters/Carlos Barria
Courtesy of the Irish Times

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