All of China's free trade zones have adopted the negative list of industries that are off limits to foreign capital, following a successful pilot of the initiative in the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ).
Under the initiative, foreign investments in areas not included in the list are subject only to a record-filing process, a shift from the previous case-by-case approval regime.
The scheme had been subsequently trialed in FTZs in Guangdong, Fujian, and Tianjin. The Ministry of Commerce confirmed that the list was introduced across China from October 1. Further, ministry spokesperson Shen Danyang said the negative list, which now includes 122 items, would be shortened to allow greater market access for foreign investors.
The Shanghai Pilot FTZ noted that the list is among a slew of reform measures piloted by the zone. In the past three years, 31 new customs rules have shaved clearance times at the Shanghai FTZ for imports by an average 78.5 percent, and exports by 31.7 percent. The overall costs for customs clearance were also reduced by about 30 percent, the zone said.
By the end of July, 45 financial institutions had opened 55,543 free trade accounts with companies in the zone, official data showed. Funds worth CNY6.7 trillion (USD1 trillion) have been transferred via the accounts.
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