New measures unveiled to support FTA innovation

Shenzhen unveiled Monday a package of 39 new measures to support the innovation and reform of the Qianhai Shekou Area of China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone, which insiders say will drive the openness of the city to a new height.

The measures cover a wide range of topics, such as the investment and business environment, trade facilitation, financial services to serve the real economy and human resources policies.

To attract foreign investment, the Shekou-Qianhai area has been allowed to roll out taxation policies in line with international practices, according to the measures.

Construction companies solely owned by foreign investors in the area will not be subject to investment ratio restrictions if they participate in a Sino-foreign joint construction project in Guangdong Province.

The area is also empowered to pilot parallel importing of cars and bonded warehousing for artwork.

Banks and financial institutions in the area are allowed to engage in yuan-related derivative business on condition that they are law-abiding and risk controllable. The area is also allowed to develop cross-border yuan settlement business. The printed transaction certificates, confirmed by both sides of the transaction, can be used by banks in the area to replace trade contracts as substantial trade evidence.

The area is authorized to approve the establishment of joint venture or foreign-funded job agencies, work out employment measures for professionals from Hong Kong and Macao working in the area, and allow professionals with certified qualifications in finance, architecture, planning and patent agent sectors to develop services for enterprises in the area after registering at relevant government departments.

“Shenzhen will be more open to the outside world after the new measures take effect,” said Cao Zhongxiong, executive director of the new economy department of Shenzhen-based China Development Institute. “The new measures are an exploration by the city government to boost the development of the free trade area as well as an implementation of the outline development plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.”

In December 2014, the State Council approved the establishment of the Guangdong Pilot Free Trade Zone, which covers the Nansha area in Guangzhou, the Qianhai-Shekou area in Shenzhen and the Hengqin area in Zhuhai.

The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee reviewed and approved the overall development plan of the Guangdong Pilot Free Trade Zone in March 2015, and on April 27, 2015, the Qianhai-Shekou area was officially inaugurated.(Han Ximin)