(Yicai Global) Sept. 1 -- China is to set up another seven free trade zones in the provinces and regions of Liaoning, Zhejiang, Henan, Hubei, Chongqing, Sichuan and Shaanxi to spearhead further economic reforms, Mr. Gao Hucheng, Chinese Minister of Commerce, told Xinhua News Agency in an interview.
The seven new FTZs will be developed in line with the highest standard of international economic and trade regulations, Mr. Gao said. They will each have their own unique characteristics and development priorities and will cover a broad range of industries and sectors.
The Chinese government first launched a FTZ in Shanghai in 2014 to open up the Chinese market in the investment, trade and financial innovation sectors. Special laws, administrative systems and policies were introduced with the approval of the National People's Congress, the national legislature. Later, the FTZ pilot program was expanded to include Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian.
The Liaoning FTZ will focus on market-oriented reforms, such as industry restructuring, in order to improve overall competitiveness and economic openness in traditional industrial bases in northeast China. It will establish a free-trade port in Zhoushan, to promote commodity trade liberalization and to enhance the global commodity allocation capabilities of the local market.
The Henan FTZ will focus on the creation of a modern integrated transport hub for the government's 'One Belt, One Road' strategy which aims at creating new economic links between Asia, Europe and Africa.
The Hubei FTZ will prioritize orderly industrial migration towards the central regions and will play a leading role in implementing the Central Region Development strategy and establishing the Yangtze River Economic Belt.
The Chongqing FTZ will commit itself to opening up gateway cities in western regions in support of the Western Development Strategy.
The Sichuan FTZ will be dedicated to opening up gateway cities in western regions, enabling synergistic development between inland areas and coastal and border cities along the Yangtze River.
The Shaanxi FTZ will explore new models for economic cooperation and cultural exchange between China's inland regions and countries participating in the 'One Belt, One Road' initiative, a route that roughly equates to the ancient silk road.