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China Outlines Further FTZ Reforms and Innovations

The State Council has recently announced 53 new measures designed to support further reform and innovation in the Pilot Free Trade Zones (FTZs). Overall, authority over a number of key functions will be delegated to the FTZ management teams, including the issuance of construction permits and the registration of technology import/export contracts. At the same time, the restrictions on hiring foreign staff will be relaxed, while trademark registration services will be set up within the FTZs. In another move, approval for insurance offices with be simplified, while banks in FTZs will be able to conduct renminbi derivative businesses for overseas clients and support will be given for the successful conclusion of cross-border renminbi transactions. A number of studies will also be undertaken into ways to further support FTZ-based businesses.

More specifically, the proposed measures include:

Creating a Favourable Investment Environment

Control over the ratio of foreign technicians in foreign-invested construction engineering design companies will be relaxed and restrictions on talent intermediary agencies will be eased. The authority to grant permission for construction projects, such as construction safety permits, will be delegated to FTZs, while support will also be given to FTZs in setting up service points for trademark registration and registering trademark pledges.

Enhancing Trade Facilitation

Studies will be conducted into the possibility of supporting aircraft maintenance businesses in special customs supervision areas. The possibility of allowing international railway bills of lading to be used as documents of title and negotiable letters of credit will also be considered. Qualified FTZs will be given support in the parallel import of automobiles on a trial basis. FTZs will also be given the authority to register technology import/export contracts.

Promoting Financial Innovation

The approval process for insurance company branch openings will be further simplified, while FTZ-resident banks will be allowed to conduct renminbi derivative business on behalf of overseas institutions in accordance with the relevant provisions and controllable risk guidelines. FTZs will additionally be given support when conducting cross-border renminbi transactions through a system of accounts tailored to their own needs.

For further details (in Chinese), please access the following link:

Circular of the State Council on Several Measures to Support the Deepening of Reform and Innovation in Pilot Free Trade Zones (Guo Fa No. 38 [2018])

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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