China opens up more free trade zones

China is proving its commitment to further opening-up and trade liberalization by giving the green light to seven more Free Trade Zones (FTZs) in inland provinces ahead of the 11th G20 Summit.

Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng was quoted in an interview with the Xinhua News Agency as saying on Wednesday 7 September, that provinces including Northeast China's Liaoning, East China's Zhejiang, Northwest China's Shaanxi and Central China's Henan will be added to China's FTZ club, taking the total number of zones to 11.

It is the first time that FTZs have been approved for inland regions.

The first FTZ opened in Shanghai in late 2013, followed by zones in South China's Guangdong Province, East China's Fujian Province and North China's Tianjin Municipality, which were approved in April 2015.

"The newly approved zones in the inland regions, which will serve larger areas, will not only further deepen reform and opening-up in China, but will also have their own characteristics to boost local economic development," Wang Danqing, a partner with Beijing-based consultancy ACG Management, told the Global Times Thursday.

According to Xinhua, the FTZ in Liaoning will focus on enhancing the competitiveness of Northeast China. That area is set to play a key role in advancing China's trade and economic cooperation with Russia, Japan and South Korea.

Xinhua did not unveil timetables for the establishment of the seven new zones.

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