24 April 2017
China (Hubei) Pilot Free Trade Zone
Officially launched on 1 April 2017, the Hubei Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) forms part of the third batch of government-endorsed pilot FTZs. All told, the zone covers an area of 119.96 sq kilometres and is broken down into three sub-zones: The Wuhan Area (70 sq kilometres inclusive of the Wuhan East Lake Comprehensive Bonded Zone (5.41 sq kilometres)), the Xiangyang Area (21.99 sq kilometres inclusive of the Xiangyang Bonded Logistics Centre (Type B) (0.281 sq kilometres)), and the Yichang Area (27.97 sq kilometres).
In line with the Overall Plan for the China (Hubei) Pilot FTZ, as approved by the State Council, over the next three to five years, the Hubei FTZ will set out to maximise international investment and trade facilitation, develop a high-level, high quality free trade park and nurture a cluster of high-end industries. Through continued innovation and active entrepreneurship, it will also seek to offer a high level of financial services and efficient and convenient supervision, while playing a leading role as a model for the wider business community. Ultimately, it will aim to play a key role in the positive evolution of the central China region and the ongoing development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt.
Foreign Investment Management
Under the terms of the Special Administrative Measures (Negative List) Relating to Foreign Investment Access, as promulgated by the State Council, a series of special management measures covering those businesses and industries deemed unsuitable for foreign investment are to be implemented across the 11 FTZs currently operating on the mainland. In the case of any sectors not specified on the negative list, the current practice of advance approval for foreign-invested projects, as well as the established process of examining and approving any foreign-invested enterprise’s contracts and articles of association, is to be replaced by filing requirements more in line with the system specified for domestic investors.
Any special administrative measures in place relating to national security, public order, public culture, financial prudence, government procurement, subsidies, special procedures and tax-related matters remain in force even if such sectors are not specified on the negative list. Furthermore, in the case of sectors related to national security, any foreign investment is also subject to scrutiny under the terms of the Tentative Measures for the National Security Review of Foreign Investment in Free Trade Zones.
Positioning of Sub-zones
This site will focus on the development of a number of strategic and emerging industries, including next-generation information technology, life sciences, health and smart manufacturing. In terms of the services sector, it will look to develop specialties in international commerce, financial services, modern logistics, inspection/testing, R&D/design, information services and a number of other professional areas.
This will focus on high-end equipment manufacturing, new-energy vehicles, big data, cloud computing, commercial logistics and inspection/testing.
The high technology industries will be the primary focus here, most notably advanced manufacturing, biomedicine, electronic information and new materials. Its service remit, meanwhile, will extend to R&D/design, headquarters economy and e-commerce.
Policy and Regulatory Updates
For the latest information on the China (Hubei) Pilot Free Trade Zone, please consult the following websites: