China is expanding its free trade zone pilot program to some underdeveloped provinces to bolster local economies and beef up trade ties with neighboring countries, said Caixin.
The State Council, China’s cabinet, announced a plan Monday to set up six new free trade zones (FTZs), increasing the number of pilot zones in the country to 18. In China, FTZs are designated geographic areas with preferential business and trade policies that are intended to encourage international business while testing economic reform measures.
The new FTZ locations include coastal provinces Shandong, Jiangsu and Hebei, landlocked provinces Guangxi and Yunnan, and the rustbelt province of Heilongjiang in northeast China.
Wang Shouwen, the vice minister of commerce, said that by adding the new zones, China’s free trade zone pilot program will cover all of the country’s coastal provinces. Meanwhile, building FTZs in some of the underdeveloped, border provinces will promote reforms in the region and encourage cross-border trade.