The China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone has had its new reform plan approved by the central government on Sunday, according to the Xinhua news agency, suggesting a set of new rules will be unveiled soon to further liberalize regulations governing finance, foreign investment and trade in the area.
The Xinhua article did not reveal specific rules but the reform plan will likely include the establishment of a free trade port inside the FTZ, which has a higher standard and has a different regulatory regime. The plan aims to lower the barrier for foreign investors on company listings and bond financing, according to officials familiar with the matter who were cited by the Shanghai Securities News earlier.
"The new reform plan is to take the highest global standards for reference," said Shanghai Vice Mayor Zhou Bo in an internal meeting on March 7.
"The new plan for the FTZ will see some big breakthroughs in trade facilitation, and regulations of financing and investment, in the framework of the city's financial reform," Zhou said.
The idea of setting up a free trade port inside the FTZ was highly supported by the country's General Administration of the Customs, Zhou said. He did not elaborate on what specific initiatives to be implemented, but mentioned that there will be two supporting plans on tax reduction, which have been submitted for approval.
Shanghai FTZ was launched on September 29, 2013, with an initial area of 28.78 square kilometers. The area was later quadrupled in size in 2014, in order to involve more sectors and market players to realize more materialized benefits in the area.