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FTZ to spur regional cooperation in Bay Area

By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2018-11-24 08:08
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A bird's eye view of the port for vehicles at the Nansha area of the Guangdong Pilot Free Trade Zone in Guangzhou. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The Guangdong Pilot Free Trade Zone plans to develop into a demonstration area for cooperation in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, by encouraging investment and trade among the three regions with targeted policies, officials said.

"We will facilitate international trade, introduce more preferential financial policies and facilitate infrastructure development in the FTZ, making more efforts to build it into a demonstration zone in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area," said Guangdong Provincial Governor Ma Xingrui.

The Guangdong Pilot FTZ includes three areas-Nansha in Guangzhou, Qianhai and Shekou in Shenzhen, and Hengqin in Zhuhai. The Nansha area focuses on developing shipping and logistics, finance, international commerce and trade, and high-end manufacturing. The Qianhai and Shekou area specializes in finance, modern logistics, information services and financial technology.

The Hengqin area focuses on leisure tourism, healthcare, culture, science, education and high-tech industries.

"The Guangdong Pilot FTZ will open more areas for trade, industrial coordination, establishing industrial platforms and technology innovation for investors from Hong Kong and Macao, as it neighbors the two special administrative regions," said Zheng Jianrong, director of the Department of Commerce of Guangdong Province.

In May, the State Council, China's cabinet, published a plan for further deepening reform and opening-up in the Guangdong Pilot FTZ, making a blueprint for developing the FTZ into a demonstration area for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

According to Zheng, the authorities in Guangdong had earlier put forward a proposal to the central government to reduce the negative list for Hong Kong and Macao investment in the FTZ.

Professionals in accounting, tax, construction and finance from Hong Kong and Macao are now allowed to directly conduct business in the FTZ, according to Zheng.

As of September this year, a total of 12,000 Hong Kong and Macao-invested companies, including banking giant HSBC and jewelry maker Chow Tai Fook, have entered the Guangdong Pilot FTZ.

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in South China, made up of nine cities in Guangdong in addition to Hong Kong and Macao, will become the largest of the world's top four bay area commercial regions as well as a top industrial, high-tech, financial and transportation zone.

In 2017, 82.8 percent of investment in Guangdong from outside the mainland came from Hong Kong and Macao, while 57.5 percent of Guangdong's overseas investment went to the two special economic regions.

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