Business / Economy

Replicability key to Shanghai FTZ success

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-09-29 09:21

SHANGHAI - The success of the Shanghai free trade zone (FTZ) will be the number of mechanisms which are copied and promoted nationally, said Han Zheng, secretary of the Shanghai branch of the Communist Party of China.

"The FTZ is a testing ground for all of China, not our private plot," he said, during an interview with Xinhua on Sunday. "New measures here should be applicable elsewhere."

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Unlike other development zones, Shanghai FTZ does not offer much by way of taxes or land. Its appeal lies on broadened access to the service sector, financial reforms and streamlined administrative procedures.

What is tested here reflects the demands of China to continue opening up and deepening reform. "It is not just for local development," Han said.

After a year, the FTZ has provided 21 pilot measures, in areas such as business registration, cross-border financing and investment. More than 30 other measures are being assessed.

In retrospect, the highlight should be the negative list, Han said. Foreign companies no longer have to go through tedious government review and approval of a proposed venture in the free trade zone, as long as their line of business does not appear on the negative list of off-limits activities. By June, the list has been shortened from 190 items to 139.

"In the past, we talked about simplifying procedures and tightening management if problems appeared," said Han. "This was a circle. Now we are exploring how to move forward."

Now they are considering a "power list" to increase transparency. The plan would allow two to three years for the FTZ to mature.

"We will take three steps in three years," he said. "Our achievements shall come in stages and in groups."

The Shanghai FTZ was launched in September 2013 to test a broad range of economic reforms, especially those in the financial sector, in anticipation of duplication in other parts of the country.

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