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China to Further Open Up Its Free Trade Zones

Time:   17.07.2023
China to Further Open Up Its Free Trade Zones

On 29 June 2023, the State Council of the PRC released a notice regarding the pilot launch of several measures aligned with international high standards in qualified pilot free trade zones and free trade ports to promote institutionalized opening-up, announcing that measures aligned with high-level international economic and trade rules will be implemented in the polit free trade zones in Shanghai, Tianjin, Fujian, Beijing and Hainan free trade port to gradually expand institutional opening-up and accumulate experience for future accession to high standard economic and trade agreements..

There are 33 pilot measures in the above document focusing on trade in goods, trade in services, temporary entry of business personnel, digital trade, business environment, and risk prevention and control. The following pilot measures are quite eye-catching:
  1. Except for some specific new financial services, foreign financial institutions in the pilot regions are allowed to carry out similar services if Chinese financial institutions are allowed to carry out a new financial service.
  2. The financial regulatory authorities are obligated to make a decision on applications related to financial services within 120 days in accordance with equal treatment for domestic and foreign financial institutions.
  3. Enterprises registered in the pilot regions and individuals working or residing in the pilot regions are now allowed to lawfully purchase overseas financial services.
  4. Accompanying spouses and family members of foreign professionals of the foreign invested enterprises in the pilot regions can enjoy the same entry and temporary stay period as the foreign professionals.
  5. The temporary entry and stay period of senior management personnel of foreign enterprises planning to set up branches or subsidiaries in the pilot regions is extended to 2 years. Their accompanying spouses and family members can enjoy the same entry and temporary stay period.
  6. Custom duties are exempted for aircraft and ships temporarily exported for reparation purposes and then re-introduced in the Hainan free trade port.
  7. Customs duties are exempted for goods temporarily allowed to enter the Hainan free trade port for repair and re-export subsequently.
  8. Customs authorities are not allowed to refuse preferential tariff treatment for goods solely based on minor errors such as printing or typing mistakes.
  9. Allowing freely and promptly transfer of the legitimate and compliant transfers related to foreign investment.

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