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Shanghai set for review of free trade zone reforms

Updated: 2014-03-07 08:17
By Gao Changxin ( China Daily)

Shanghai will soon conduct the first review of its groundbreaking trial zone for reforms, said Shanghai's Party chief Han Zheng on Thursday.

The review will ensure that the city comes up with a set of winning practices for use nationwide by the first anniversary of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, which opened in September last year, Han told a news conference during the ongoing meeting of the National People's Congress.

In three years, he added, the zone will have a complete policy framework ready for national application.

The zone, which Beijing plans to use as a spearhead for sweeping economic reforms over the next 10 years, is also updating its "negative list" to make it more transparent and concise.

The list, a key reform in the zone, shows sectors where foreign investment is banned or restricted within the zone. There are no restrictions for anything not on the list.

Currently, all foreign investments in China require administrative approval.

Han's comments came a day after President Xi Jinping joined a panel discussion by Shanghai lawmakers on Wednesday. In a speech, Xi urged Shanghai to make bold reform moves in the FTZ and come up as early as possible with policies applicable nationwide.

Xi also cautioned against risks, especially financial risks, involved with liberalizing reforms.

"Stress tests should also be carried out to prevent systemic risks, especially from the financial sector," Xinhua News Agency quoted Xi as saying.

As part of its financial reforms, the zone will soon launch the nation's first international market for gold trading, according to Xu Luode, chairman of the Shanghai Gold Exchange.

Xu said the market may be launched in the first half of the year, and trading will be conducted in yuan. He didn't elaborate on what products will be on offer or which investors are eligible.

"The international market will help China increase its influence on global gold prices," said Xu.

The Shanghai Gold Exchange is the world's biggest physical gold exchange. All buying and selling of spot bullion in China must be conducted through the exchange.

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