A new economic zone in Tianjin, Binhai New Area, has received State Council backing. The council agreed to financial and land reform experiments, and promised tax breaks to investors and subsidies to local governments. The government said it plans to transform the city into a gateway for northern China and use it to boost other cities around the Bohai Sea. The 2,270 square kilometer zone would be a testing ground for reform and opening measures, Beijing said in a circular. Before State Council approval, the area had already moved forward with financial innovations, including setting up the Bohai Bank, which was the first national bank approved in China since 1996.