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Qianhai’s institutional innovation tops China’s free trade zones

The Qianhai and Shekou area of the China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone ranks No. 1 in the country with a score of 86.26 points, according to the “Institutional Innovation Index for China Pilot Free Trade Zones (2018-2019)” released by the Institute of Free Trade Zones of the Guangzhou-based Sun Yat-sen University on July 24.

Qianhai and Shekou area was followed by the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone and the Nansha Area of Guangzhou of the China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone in the index.

The Institute also released “Blue Paper on the Development of China Pilot Free Trade Zones (2018-2019)” the same day.

Li Shanmin, vice president of Sun Yat-sen University and dean of the Institute of Free Trade Zones, said that institutional innovation is the core mission of pilot free trade zones. The release of the blue paper and the index is a summary of the achievements and highlights made in the 24 free trade zones and areas over the past year.

According to Fu Zhengping, executive vice dean of the Institute of Free Trade Zones, the index assessment adopted five first-level indicators, 19 second-level indicators and 57 third-level indicators to evaluate the country’s 24 pilot free trade zones/areas. The assessment focuses on the practicability, implementation, duplicability and promotion of their innovation measures.

Among the five first-level indicators, the Qianhai and Shekou area ranks No. 1 in “transformation of government functions,” “investment facilitation,” “trade facilitation” and “legal environment.” The area has made great achievement regarding economic development.

Huang Xinfei, vice dean of the Institute of Free Trade Zones, introduced 10 successful cases of institutional innovation, including “Guide to the List for the Opening up” of China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone Nansha Area of Guangzhou, the cross-border credit project of the China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone Hengqin New Area of Zhuhai, and the cross-border notary legal service of the China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone Qianhai and Shekou Area.

Mao Yanhua, vice dean of the Institute of Free Trade Zones, introduced the content of the blue paper. He said that pilot free trade zones will focus on openness, serve as a benchmark of high-standard international trade and economic rules, and form an institutional environment for quality development to participate in the competition of the global value chain.

Mao added that pilot free trade zones will also improve the legal system to support the protection of intellectual property rights and the foreign investment law, providing legal guarantee to the high-level development of pilot free trade zones.

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