Free trade port areas planned in city
Free trade port areas will be set up within the bonded zones of Yangshan Port and Shanghai Pudong International Airport as part of efforts to deepen reforms of The China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ), with a concrete outline expected to take shape this year, according to officials.
"We are currently studying a set of new systems that can help us create free trade port areas that are of international standards," said Zhu Min, deputy director of Shanghai Municipal Development and Reform Commission during a news briefing on April 1.
"Related divisions and government departments will try their best to develop the full plan for the free trade port area within this year," he added.
Shanghai Pudong International Airport currently handles the world's third-largest amount of cargo and the Yangshan port is the world's busiest and largest container port.
Wu Wei, an official from the Shanghai municipal office for port service, said that the processing time for imported cargo has been shortened from one day to just half an hour, and check-in times for ships departing Shanghai has been cut from a day to mere seconds. He added that this boost in efficiency saves corporations more than 2 billion yuan ($289.97 million) each year.
"The free trade port areas will better serve Shanghai as a comprehensive hub in international shipping and build on the previous achievements made in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone," said Zhu.
"We will draft more measures to facilitate the building of closer ties between the global market and cities along the Yangtze River economic belt via the Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Yangshan port."
He pointed out that 42,000 enterprises have been established in the Shanghai FTZ from its inception in 2013 to the end of 2016, and that it can be a role model for other FTZs in the country to follow.
The Ministry of Commerce had on March 31 also announced the launch of seven new FTZs to accelerate the country's opening-up, taking the total number of such zones in China to 11.