An employee inspects cargo handling equipment at a container terminal in the China (Shandong) Pilot Free Trade Zone in Qingdao, Shandong province. [Photo by Zhang Jingang/For China Daily]
The China (Shandong) Pilot Free Trade Zone has made remarkable progress boosting economic reforms, promoting global trade, and facilitating foreign investment in new areas, according to local authorities.
The Information Office of the Shandong Provincial People's Government held a news conference on Aug 31 to discuss the progress the Shandong FTZ has made since it was launched a year ago.
An appraisal report by a trusted third party showed that 91 percent of the 112 tasks set for the Shandong FTZ by the central authorities had been implemented, boosting confidence in all sectors and stabilizing foreign trade and investment amid a sluggish international market.
The Shandong FTZ has generated 60 institutional innovations, which have proven effective and are able to be replicated by other areas in the country.
Local officials said that the Shandong FTZ has fully implemented the 2020 version of the negative list for foreign investment, boosting foreign investors' confidence in the nation's huge market and attracting more overseas investment.
As of July this year, 288 new foreign-funded enterprises had set up operations in the Shandong FTZ, with the actual use of foreign capital reaching $1.44 billion, accounting for 9.9 percent of the province's total.
The Shandong FTZ has launched a slew of measures to facilitate trade. The average customs clearance time in the area for inbound and outbound cargo has been reduced, as have the overall costs for customs clearance. Time needed to transfer commodities at Qingdao Port has also been reduced by 60 percent.
In addition, the Shandong FTZ has been pushing forward with financial opening and innovation. It is promoting the cross-border use of the renminbi, exploring the convertibility of capital accounts, and deepening reforms of foreign exchange management.