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China (Shaanxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone

Officially launched on 1 April 2017, the Shaanxi Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) forms part of the third batch of government-endorsed pilot FTZs. Covering an area of 119.95 sq km, the zone consists of three sub-zones: The Central Area (87.76 sq km inclusive of the Shaanxi Xi’an Export Processing Area A (0.75 sq km), the Shaanxi Xi’an Export Processing Area B (0.79 sq km), the Xi’an High-Tech Comprehensive Bonded Area (3.64 sq km) and the Shaanxi Xixian Bonded Logistics Centre (Type B) (0.36 sq km)), the Xi’an International Port Area (26.43 sq km inclusive of the Xi’an Comprehensive Bonded Area (6.17 sq km) and the Yangling Demonstration Area (5.76 sq km).

Development Goals

In line with the Overall Plan for the China (Shaanxi) Pilot FTZ, as approved by the State Council, over the next three to five years, the Shaanxi FTZ will establish a system for institutional innovation in accordance with the best international investment and trade practices, while also nurturing a conducive, globally-minded business environment. Every effort will also be made to construct a high-level, high quality free trade park, offering first rate investment and trade facilitation services. Moves will also be made to nurture a cluster of high-end industries, while additionally providing a high level of financial services and fostering greater connectivity between different cultures and individuals. Through effective and informed oversight, it will also create and sustain a legally-compliant commercial environment, which will, in turn, facilitate the implementation of both the Belt and Road Initiative and wider moves to develop the western region.

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

Central Area

The site will have a primary focus on developing a number of strategic emerging industries and the high-tech sector, with a particular emphasis on high-end manufacturing, aviation logistics and trade/finance. At the same time, it will look to advance trade in the professional services sector, while promoting the development of new systems, the science and technology sectors, education, culture, health/medicine and tourism. Overall, it will seek to establish itself as a key hub for the high-end industries, while facilitating greater connectivity between different cultures and individuals in line with the designated priorities of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Xi’an International Port Area

With a focus on developing international trade, modern logistics, financial services, tourism, convention/exhibition services and e-commerce, this site will be developed as an inland hub port for international transit along the proposed routes of the Belt and Road Initiative, a centre for open finance innovation and a platform for trade co-operation and cultural exchanges between Europe and Asia.

Yangling Demonstration Area

Agricultural science and technology will be the focus here, with the emphasis very much on innovation, demonstration and promotion. Ultimately, it will also function as a centre for international agricultural co-operation, while providing a platform for related technical and cultural exchanges among the countries linked by the Belt and Road Initiative.

Policy and Regulatory Updates

For the latest information on the China (Shaanxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone, please consult the following websites:

Shaanxi Province Department of Commerce

Xi’an Municipal Bureau of Commerce

China Yangling

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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