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Shanghai Mulls Building Free Trade Port Area

The Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone is deliberating on a plan for the comprehensive deepening of reform, which includes the concept of building a free trade port area. A most representative and internationally benchmarked free trade zone or free port will be built in parts of the Yangshan Bonded Port Area and Pudong Airport Comprehensive Bonded Area. New regulatory policies, systems and mechanisms will be implemented in a bid to build a free trade port area of the highest standards.

This was disclosed by Zhu Min, Deputy Director General of Shanghai Development and Reform Commission, at a meeting of the Shanghai Leading Group for Port Affairs on 14 February 2017 as a next step of the reform of the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone.

“The free trade port area will not be based on a model of ‘bonded area plus’ but will involve the drafting of a whole new set of rules. Shanghai plans to spend three to four years to build this port area,” said Zhu. The new plan may involve the amendment of relevant laws and regulations, departmental rules and local legislation.

Some experts reckon that the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone is still a long way from being a pilot free trade zone with a high degree of opening up and needs to further deepen reform through systems integration. Based on relevant studies, the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone will explore the most efficient international model of free port area operation in parts of the Yangshan Bonded Port Area and Pudong Airport Comprehensive Bonded Area. On the basis of ensuring the bottom line of public safety and environmental safety, efforts will be made to further ease entry goods control, integrate and optimise port functions and bonded functions, and explore systems, rules and operational models that accord with international practice on matters such as the “single window” system, paperless customs clearance, transparency in supervision and risk management by category in international trade.

The Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration will also deepen innovation under the Shanghai Free Trade Zone system and form an efficient and convenient system of international shipping registration for the free trade zone. It will give impetus to foreign ship surveying companies to engage in the surveying of ships registered under the international ship registration system of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, explore the further readjustment and liberalisation of qualifications of foreign-invested ship management companies in the free trade zone for seafarer dispatching service, eliminate the requirement for the packaging inspection of hazardous goods in transit, and open the express declaration channel of “release upon declaration” to facilitate transit trade.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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