Chinese authorities have decided to set up seven new free trade zones across the country, bringing the total number to 11, as China looks to replicate the success of previous trials.
The new FTZs will be in Liaoning, Zhejiang, Henan, Hubei, Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces as well as Chongqing municipality, according to Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng. The expansion comes three years after the launch of China's first free trade zone, 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, FTZs were approved for Fujian and Guangdong provinces and Tianjin. With the addition of seven more, 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 said. The FTZs will be launched after necessary steps are taken, Gao said, but he 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 for commodities.