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Shantou will become the Research and Development Area in Guangdong Free Trade Zone

2018-10-11 11:38:11 Ta Kung Pao

The Guangdong Provincial Government recently submitted a ‘Report on Promoting the Construction of the China (Guangdong) Free Trade Pilot Zone’ to the Provincial People's Congress Standing Committee meeting for deliberation. The report shows that the Guangdong Free Trade Zone will expand into a new platform for reform and opening up for the Shantou Special Economic Zone. After the opening of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong high-speed rail line last month, Shantou is connected with Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau Dawan District with high-speed rail. Experts pointed out that if the Shantou Special Economic Zone can become part of the Guangdong Pilot Free Trade Zone, it will bring new business opportunities for investment in Hong Kong. In addition, the Guangdong Free Trade Zone will explore innovative Hong Kong dollar, Australian dollar circulation model and the operation mode of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau insurance institutions.

Cao Dahua, director of the Guangdong Provincial Free Trade Office, revealed in the Standing Committee of the Provincial People's Congress that the Guangdong Free Trade Zone will plan to promote a number of reforms that will “make the whole body and move the whole body”, including promoting the expansion of the Guangdong Free Trade Zone, which is the Shantou economic zone. The Special Administrative Region and other places are striving for a new round of reform and opening up.

As one of the first batch of Special Economic Zones in the country, Shantou is an import and export shore, commodity distribution center and transportation hub in the east of Guangdong, southern Jiangxi and southwestern Fujian. It is also an important channel connecting the Pearl River Delta with Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. On the 23rd of last month, the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong high-speed railway was opened to traffic. It takes only 2 hours and 41 minutes to get to the Chaoshan Station from West Kowloon Station in Hong Kong.

High-speed rail connecting Shantou and Dawan District arteries

The development of the Shantou Special Economic Zone has been affecting the hearts of many Chaoshan-Hong Kong businessmen. As early as March of this year, 21 members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, including Lin Jianyue, proposed the ‘building a Shantou free trade port’ proposal by joint name. The proposal believes that Shantou can join Guangdong and Hong Kong to participate in the construction of the ‘Belt and Road’. The Guangdong Free Trade Zone will expand the zone and strive for a new round of reform and opening up for the Shantou Special Economic Zone and other places, echoing the voice of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee members.

In June this year, the Shantou Free Trade Pilot Zone Work Leading Group was established. In late August, Cao Dahua, director of the Guangdong Provincial Free Trade Office, led a team to Shantou for ‘deep research’. Although the specific details of the Shantou Construction Free Trade Zone have not been disclosed, Fang Lixu, secretary of the Shantou Municipal Party Committee, told the media this year that Shantou will take the initiative to act as a “free trade zone, compare free port, and integrate into the Dawan District”.

“Shantou is located in eastern Guangdong, closer to Xiamen, Fujian, but the economic connection and blood relationship are closer to Hong Kong.” Chen Laiji, a professor at Shantou University’s School of Journalism and Communication, believes that the opening of Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong high-speed railway is thus the opening of traffic artery in the Dawan District of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau. “The advantage of Shantou lies in the local labor cost advantage and the flexibility of the manufacturing industry, which can be used as a supplement to the extension of the Pearl River Delta industry. However, if Shantou wants to build a free trade zone, it must also upgrade the city.”

Expert: There is an urgent need to upgrade the city package

As of July this year, there were 250,000 new enterprises in the Guangdong Pilot Free Trade Zone, including more than 11,000 Hong Kong and Macao-funded enterprises. The next step of the Guangdong Free Trade Zone will explore innovative Hong Kong dollar and Australian dollar circulation models to innovate the operation mode of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau insurance institutions and promote the pilot of comprehensive financial supervision under the cooperative and coordinated supervision in Qianhai Shekou, which will further strive to optimize and expand the ‘separate management’ policy of Hengqin, and promote the full implementation of the ‘one inspection, one release’ customs clearance inspection mode at Hengqin Port.

In order to create a ‘Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macao and Dawan District Cooperation Demonstration Zone’, the Guangdong Free Trade Zone will further extend the limitations on access, qualifications and business scope in the fields of finance, commerce, law, shipping logistics, telecommunications, etc., and expand cooperation with Hong Kong and Macao professional services. The main goal of this action is to explore and build a free trade channel between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao.

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