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China to fast track free trade zones

Updated: Jan 19,2017 7:59 PM

China is close to signing off on seven new free trade zones to accelerate the opening up of more areas, a government official said on Jan 19.

Ministry of Commerce spokesman Sun Jiwen said they are working with relevant departments to speed up the establishment of the third batch of FTZs flagged in August.

He said the plan including the exact locations covered by the new zones would be revealed soon after the mandatory approval process.

“We will promote local commercial departments and economic development areas to explore the path of opening up through innovating regulations and improving the business environment,” Sun said.

In addition, Sun urged the national economic and technological development areas to learn from the successful experience of running the existing FTZs.

The ministry hopes the economic and technological development areas would strive to become demonstration pilots in the next round of FTZs.

There are currently 219 national economic and technological development areas across the country, according to the ministry’s website.

Last August, the government gave the green light to seven new FTZs, including Liaoning province, Zhejiang province, Henan province, Hubei province, Sichuan province, Shaanxi province and Chongqing municipality.