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Shaanxi looks to Shanghai for free trade zone inspiration

By Ma Lie in Xi'an | | Updated: 2017-01-16 16:30

Shaanxi province plans to model the development of its free trade zone on the one in Shanghai, according to its top official.

Hu Heping, governor of the province, said that Shaanxi would build on the experiences of Shanghai and highlight institutional innovation in the creation of its own free trade zone.

He made the remarks in a work report that was delivered to the opening meeting of the sixth session of the 12th Shaanxi Provincial People's Congress on Sunday.

Shaanxi won approval from the central government for its free trade zone on Aug 31, along with Liaoning, Sichuan, Hubei, Henan, Zhejiang provinces and Chongqing municipality.

"We will make full use of the great opportunities presented by the construction of the China (Shaanxi) Free Trade Zone and the Belt and Road Initiative to speed up the creation of a new level of reform and opening-up through the innovation of institutional mechanisms, in order to foster a new competitive advantage, and to further deepen and widen integration into the global supply system," Hu said.

The province is known as the starting point for the ancient Silk Road trade network that linked China with Central Asia and Europe starting more than 2,000 years ago.

Given the advantages of its location, Shaanxi has striven to play a leading role in the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping in September 2013.

A block train service to Central Asia named Chang'an began operating in 2013 and in the years since three additional block trains have been put into service from Xi'an, the provincial capital, to Moscow, Warsaw and Hamburg. The province has also built industrial parks in cooperation with Kazakhstan, Russia and South Korea, and established an airfreight route from Xi'an to Amsterdam.

"Shaanxi now has 42 international passenger air routes linking it to the outside world. In addition, Thailand, South Korea, Cambodia and Malaysia have set up consulates in Xi'an and 13 countries, including the United Kingdom, have set up visa centers there," Hu said.

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