Business / Economy

FTZ will not "flourish" in China: MOC

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-06-17 11:13

BEIJING - Free trade zones (FTZs) will not flourish everywhere in China, a senior official with the Ministry of Commerce said on Monday.

The statement came almost nine months after the country's Shanghai pilot FTZ started operating as a test bed for deepening market-oriented reforms and boosting economic vitality.

At least 20 local governments have reportedly submitted proposals for similar zones.

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In response, the official, who did not give his or her name, told Xinhua that FTZs would not be set up everywhere and it was not the goal of the central government to build zones in areas featuring a whole range of preferential policies.

The FTZ "frenzy" goes back to before the Shanghai zone opened. Last year, South China's Guangdong province announced it was upgrading one of its "special economic development zones," calling it a "trade zone" and boasting unrivaled connections with neighboring Hong Kong.

This year has seen other provinces maneuvering to join the party: The coastal city Qingdao in Shandong province wants to leverage its proximity to Japan and the Republic of Korea; Xiamen in East China's Fujian province has said similar things about Taiwan; and Chongqing said it will open up westwards.

Despite all these proposals, authorities have given almost no indication that they intend to approve other zones.

Where and when to set up a FTZ and what and how to test favorable policies in the zone will depend on whether they are replicable elsewhere in the country, the official said.

However, the ministry supports local governments' efforts to study and learn from experiences of the Shanghai FTZ, the official added.

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