BEIJING, Oct. 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- China unveiled a detailed plan on Tuesday to establish the country's southern province Hainan as a free trade zone (FTZ), in its latest move to open up the economy.
The plan, issued by the State Council, China's cabinet, mapped out the target and scope for the FTZ development while identifying key industries that will see fewer foreign investment restrictions.
By 2020, the plan aims to build Hainan into a high-quality FTZ that promotes trade and investment facilitation, provides an excellent legal environment, thorough financial services, efficient regulation, a favorable ecological environment, and boosts the development of surrounding areas.
Foreign investors will have wider access in a number of key areas including tourism, education, and telecommunications, according to the plan. A negative list approach, which outlines economic areas restricted for foreign investment, will be adopted in the Hainan FTZ.
As part of its opening-up policies, China unveiled a new negative list in June for foreign investment in FTZs, with the number of items down to 45 from 95 in the previous version.
The plan also gives Hainan more autonomy in granting foreign investment access. International businesses providing value-added telecommunication services will no longer need to go through central authorities to enter the market, according to the plan.
To promote international trade, data-based systems will be put into use to improve customs efficiency while multinationals and trade companies are encouraged to treat Hainan as the center of their global or regional trade network.
One of the key features of the Hainan FTZ development plan was that it took into consideration Hainan's distinct characteristics, according to Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen, at a press conference.
Domestic and foreign shipping companies will be encouraged to set up operational or regional centers in the FTZ, as part of the efforts to build the area into an international shipping hub, according to the plan.
The development plan also builds on Hainan's established strength in medical services.
The island is drawing a number of cutting-edge medical institutions and foreign doctors thanks to relaxed rules on importing foreign medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, as well as visa policies rolled out in recent years.
According to the plan, tariffs for some medical equipment will be cut in the pilot zone.
The plan is released on the official website of the State Council of the People's Republic of China (www.gov.cn).