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China to step up efforts to accelerate free trade port construction

Beijing - China will step up efforts to accelerate free trade port construction this year, a further step to build on the success of free trade zones across the country, the Ministry of Commerce said.

Beijing - China will step up efforts to accelerate free trade port construction this year, a further step to build on the success of free trade zones across the country, the Ministry of Commerce said. Assistant Minister of Commerce Ren Hongbin said one of the ministry’s priorities in 2019 is to advance the building of free trade zones and explore steps to construct free trade ports in China.
The ministry will draw on international experience and come up with policies and institutional systems for building free trade ports “as soon as possible”, Ren said at a news conference on Wednesday. Free trade ports are regarded as the world’s most open form of economic zone, which has brought prosperity to places such as Singapore thanks to broad-based preferential policies on trade and investment. It is open to all commercial vessels on equal terms. Goods may be unloaded, stored and shipped without the payment of customs duties. According to last year’s government guidelines, a free trade port system will be “basically established” in Hainan by 2025. Last April, China announced it would develop the island into a pilot free trade zone, through which Hainan will be granted more capacity to reform, and speed up the fostering of a law-based, international, and convenient business environment. Zhao Ping, a senior researcher at the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Academy, said: “It is necessary to create a high-tech talent pool to help to speed up the pace of transforming Hainan into a free port. Key focus areas would include shipping, logistics and finance, so talent in these sectors should be valued.”
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