April 21st, 2018 marks the three-year anniversary of the establishment of the Guangdong Pilot Free Trade Zone (GD FTZ). By December, 2017, the zone had seen the opening of 210,000 newly-approved enterprises and a significant amount of innovation in the facilitation of investment, trade and financial reform.
The FTZ is a way of testing out new policies, including interest rate liberalization with fewer investment restrictions, to better integrate the Chinese economy with international practice.
FTZ fever has caught the attention of overseas investors to Guangdong, the amount of foreign-invested enterprises has reached to 9,639; contributing an actual inflow of foreign investment of 12.85 billion USD. The zone also sees more cooperation between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao.
Below are some key figures and achievements:
※In line with international standards for investment. Items in the negative list have been reduced to 95, and the time for business registration approvals has been cut to a two working day maximum.
※Establishing a safe and efficient international customs clearance service system. A suite of online platforms have been set up to cut the average time required for customs clearance by 42.6%.
※Building a demonstration window for continued financial opening up. By December, 2017, a total of 229 enterprises had started cross-border RMB loan business in the zone, bringing in a total of 42.9 billion yuan.
On April 20th, the top 30 cases of institutional innovation (regarding the facilitation of investment, trade and financial opening) were released by the General Affairs Office of the Guangdong Free Trade Zone.
These are achievements in various areas of the GDFTZ, and provide valuable lessons for further reform, opening-up and optimizing business development.
For instance, Hengqin FTZ independently developed the country's first self-service remote visual taxation service terminal "V-Tax". It provides intelligent guidance for Hong Kong and Macao tax-payers as well as remote services for tax personnel, facilitating cross-border transactions.
In future, the Guangdong FTZ plans to develop into a hub for high-level opening up under the Belt and Road Initiative and construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Market access to the mainland will be eased for Hong Kong and Macao enterprises in finance, law, shipping and logistics and other industries. The zone is to set out rules for the service industries consistent with Hong Kong and Macao.
It will further the cooperation with Hong Kong and Macao in the liberation of service trade, industry, resource sharing and information exchange under the “One Country Two Systems” and CEPA (Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement).
Reported by Will
Edited by Olivia, Simon