Roam the Caoqiao Subway Station in southwest Beijing, it takes only 20 minutes to get to the Beijing Daxing International Airport, which is located in the junction between Daxing District and Hebei Province. With this new state-of-the-art airport, which is part of the China (Hebei) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ), the FTZ has become the latest test field for opening up in north China.
According to Shen Jianmin, head of office for the Daxing Airport Area, with its unique advantages, including a comprehensive bonded zone, and Beijing’s policy support for opening up the service sector, the FTZ has greater space for policy innovation in developing industries and attracting talents. “It can become an integrated innovation highland for reform and development,” Shen told People’s Daily. On August 26, 2019, the State Council approved six new pilot FTZs in six provinces: Shandong, Jiangsu, Guangxi, Yunnan, Heilongjiang and Hebei. They are the fifth batch of pilot FTZs in China, bringing the total number to 18.
A year after their establishment, the pilot FTZs have played a key role in stabilizing foreign trade and investment, according to Tang Wenhong, head of the Department of Pilot FTZs and Free Trade Ports at the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), at a press conference on September 2.
The new FTZs have their unique advantages and tasks. The Shandong FTZ, inaugurated in coastal east China on August 30, 2019, is developing its marine economy and deepening China-Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) cooperation. For example, in June, it issued a licence to an ROK-funded travel agency, which became the first wholly foreign-owned travel agency in the FTZ due to its preferential policies while such ownership is not allowed in the rest of the province. And the approval process was completed online in just one hour, according to a China Daily report. It also has an important role in the development of the Bohai Economic Rim, the economic zone encompassing Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and Shandong Peninsula.