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Reform in focus ahead of Party summit

Updated: 2013-10-09 19:49
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - A spate of initiatives adopted by the Chinese government has aroused the country's enthusiasm for reform, with many people expecting the country's ruling party to kick off more intensive and tougher reforms at a key summit in November.

A few weeks after the launch of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, a catfish effect has evidently come into play across China.

Shenzhen, a coastal city in South China's Guangdong province and the nation's first special economic zone after China opened up its economy three decades ago, is mulling a free trade zone that would connect Guangdong with regional financial center Hong Kong.

The proposed zone would integrate three existing trade zones within Guangdong and leverage their proximity to Hong Kong and Macao to promote trade and services.

"Like measures unveiled for the Shanghai zone, our proposal includes regulatory and financial reforms, and Shanghai could serve as a lesson in how we innovate in our trade environment," said Niu Jing, director of the Administrative Committee at Hengqin New Area, one of the three existing zones.

Guangdong has been the bellwether in China's export-driven economic growth in the past. Yet as overseas demand weakens and labor cost rises, the coastal province is losing its competitive edge but wants to reinvent itself through industrial upgrades and administrative reforms.

In a separate attempt by Tianjin Binhai New Area (BNA) to spearhead administrative reform, authorities have decided to close down three administrative committees and pass their jurisdiction over three districts to the BNA authority.

A total of 51 senior officials who previously served on the three committees will be relocated as a result of the move.

"This reshuffle is very unprecedented in terms of people and organizations involved," a source with the BNA government told Xinhua.

However, authorities deemed it a necessary step to cut bureaucratic red tapes to stimulate economic activities at the BNA.

"The Shanghai free trade zone has pressured Tianjin to change," according to Zhou Liqun, deputy dean of Nankai University's Binhai Development and Research Institute.

"But unlike the central government's mandate to open a trade zone in Shanghai, the changes at the BNA are self-motivated reform that will increase the zone's appeal to investors in the long run, " Zhou said.

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