Business / Economy

Expanded FTZ to aid growth in Yangtze belt

By SHI JING (China Daily) Updated: 2015-04-28 09:21

Move to increase Shanghai free trade zone can help generate more business prospects in coastal region 

The China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone will become a major economic driving force in the new "Belt and Road Initiative" and the development of the Yangtze River economic zone.

On Monday, the expanded Shanghai FTZ was launched in the Pudong New Area. The central government gave the green light for the expansion plan back in December as part of the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative.

Sun Jiwei, head of the Pudong New Area, said expansion will help connect the Silk Road Economic Belt with the Yangtze River economic zone, and help develop trading ports along the Yangtze River and the coastal region.

"The Shanghai FTZ should serve as a role model to establish an innovative system which is both in line with international rules and in accordance with China's actual conditions," Sun said. "It should also play a leading role in terms of opening up economic (possibilities)."

The total area of the Shanghai FTZ will be more than quadrupled from the previous 28.78 square kilometers to 120.71 sq km. The FTZ will include the advanced manufacturing-based Jinqiao Export Processing Zone, the Zhangjiang High-Tech Park and the financial center at Lujiazui. All of these are located in Shanghai Pudong New Area.

Sun said the expanded FTZ can build on its previous success as a free trade zone.

"It is not just an old bottle filled with newly brewed wine," Sun said. "As long as it does not interfere with or run counter to related laws and regulations, it is very likely that we will apply all the successful experiences to an even wider area of Shanghai."

There are 73,900 companies in the expanded zone, while 16,300 are foreign-funded, according to a survey conducted by the administrative committee of the Shanghai FTZ in March.

The expansion has largely enriched the industry portfolio of the Shanghai FTZ, said Zhu Min, deputy director of the administrative committee of the Shanghai FTZ.

"About 80 percent of the 28-square-kilometer FTZ were trading or logistics companies. But now we have more companies specializing in advanced manufacturing industry, research and development, and modern financial services," Zhu said.

More than 10,000 companies were newly registered in the Pudong New Area between January and March.

Within the 28 sq km area, 833 new foreign-funded firms were registered in the first three months. "This has shown a growing interest by foreign investors in the expanded Shanghai FTZ," he said.

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