BEIJING — Chinese authorities have decided to set up seven new free trade zones (FTZs) across the country, bringing the total number to 11 as China looks to replicate the success of previous trials.
The new FTZs will be located in the provinces of Liaoning, Zhejiang, Henan, Hubei, Sichuan and Shaanxi as well as Chongqing Municipality, according to Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng.
The expansion came nearly three years after the launch of China’s first FTZ in Shanghai to test a broad range of economic reforms, including more openness to foreign investment and fewer restrictions on capital flows.
In late 2014, Tianjin, Fujian and Guangdong were approved to set up the second group of FTZs.
With the addition of 7 more FTZs, China is hoping to press ahead with wider reforms, while allowing the regions to tap their unique geographical and industrial advantages for further experiments.
“The decision to expand the FTZs shows authorities’ strong resolution in advancing reforms and opening up,” Gao told Xinhua in an interview.
He said the FTZs will be launched following necessary procedures, but did not give a time frame.
According to Gao, Liaoning province in northeast China will focus on market-oriented reforms to transform the old industrial base into a more competitive area, while coastal Zhejiang is expected to explore trade liberalization of commodities and improve capacity of global allocation of commodities.
Central China’s Henan will tap its potential in transportation and logistics, and Hubei will build high-tech bases and facilitate the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt.
China hopes the FTZs in Chongqing, Sichuan and Shaanxi, all in the country’s less developed west, will help open the regions to bring out their economic vitality.