Fujian makes right connections through FTZ

Updated: Aug 5, 2021 By YUAN SHENGGAO China Daily Print
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Clockwise from left: A staff member introduces Internet services on cross-Straits communication to a customer in Fujian. A freight truck stops at an express delivery station in Fujian. Staff members of Xiamen Customs check the exported goods of an enterprise. [Photos/China Daily]

Region's role in Belt and Road Initiative and cross-Straits relations strengthened

The Fujian Pilot Free Trade Zone is aiming to integrate into the Belt and Road Initiative and build a higher-level open economic system with international influence and competitiveness, said local officials.

Wu Nanxiang, head of the Fujian Provincial Department of Commerce, said: "The FTZ is a test ground for the country's reform and opening-up. It will continue to make efforts in innovation and development with open cooperation, systems and mechanisms; promote comprehensive deepening of reform and opening-up; and show a greater performance in serving and integrating the new development pattern."

Shen Kaiyan, director of the Institute of Economics of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said: "In the future, the FTZ will serve the national strategy as its mission and focus on industrial upgrading, opening-up and modern governance."

The zone innovates rules and standards, enhancing client satisfaction by exploring and applying certain policies of a free trade port and promoting reform and opening-up with a broader scope.

Offering a number of pioneering reforms, the zone implements open investment management, efficient trade supervision and financial services. The quality of service has spurred a more convenient flow of human resources, capital, technology and data.

The zone boasts collaborative innovation and has established a liberalization and assistance system.

Chai Yong, director of the Fujian Electronic Port Service Center, said: "Fujian will expand the single-window service function for international trade and accelerate the information-based enterprise service projects in all aspects of cross-border trade in accordance with the principle of 'be the best' and to offer a one-stop, full-chain service for optimizing cross-border trade."

The FTZ promotes the coordinated development of special customs supervision areas and pilot free trade zones, and boosts the high-quality development of comprehensive bonded areas around the "five centers".

It strives to establish Fuzhou and Xiamen airport comprehensive bonded zones, transforms the Xiangyu Bonded Zone and integrates with the Xiangyu Comprehensive Bonded Zone. The zone supports the construction and development of a number of research and development institutions, and promotes the transformation and application of more scientific and technological achievements.

Another key goal for the FTZ is to highlight the transformation of government functions and create a first-class legalized, internationalized and convenient business environment.

It focuses on the concerns and demands of market players, continues to promote the reform of "streamlining the government, delegating power, and improving government services" as a whole, strengthens the ability to gather production factors and market allocation, and explores new experiences for the modernization of governance systems and governance capabilities.

The zone has improved the level of modern governance by assisting the exit of market entities, expanding the scope of simplified cancellation and improving regulatory rules.

It expands the "Internet plus government service", realizes the entire process of online handling, and promotes the standardization and assistance of government service.

It promotes the clustering and development of upstream and downstream enterprises in the legal industry chain, and forms a legal protection service system that integrates law enforcement, judicial services, public legal services, legal theory research and full-chain services related to legal affairs.

The FTZ strives to strengthen the education and training, promoting the construction of China (Fujian) Pilot Free Trade Zone College and relying on Xiamen University's strong disciplinary foundation and research strength to carry out theoretical research, policy incubation, talent training, and cooperation and exchanges. It also strengthens cooperation with domestic scientific research institutions and think tanks, improves talent evaluation and guarantee mechanisms, attracts high-end talents from home and abroad, and provides more policy supply and intellectual support for the innovation and development of free trade.

The FTZ also plays a key role in cross-Straits relations. It strives to create a pioneer zone for Taiwan-based enterprises to operate on the mainland.

Huang Maoxing, dean of the comprehensive research institute in the free trade zone of Fujian Normal University, said: "The Fujian Pilot Free Trade Zone should give full play to the function of a demonstration zone for cross-Straits integrated development, accelerate the liberalization of service trade between Fujian and Taiwan, and implement local entrepreneurship, employment and internships."

The zone is exploring professional services in the fields of culture and entertainment, tourism, medicine and health, architectural planning, film and television culture, to relax the conditions for investment from Taiwan.

It also strengthens cross-Straits economic and trade cooperation, explores the path and methods for the construction of a cross-Straits common market, and develops projects such as the cross-Straits agricultural and fishery product trading center to help Taiwan-based enterprises expand in the domestic market.

The FTZ promotes cross-Straits capital market exchanges and cooperation, provides Taiwan-funded enterprises with convenient investment and financial services and improves the policy system that guarantees the well-being of Taiwan-based enterprises.

It deepens cross-Straits professional and technical personnel exchanges, supports Taiwan professional and technical personnel to participate in vocational qualification examinations, and expands the scope and application of Taiwan vocational qualifications.

It also encourages cross-Straits law enforcement personnel exchanges and academic seminars, and promotes nongovernmental exchanges between grassroots and young people, and continues to organize unique exchange activities to unite compatriots, and attract more Taiwan compatriots to come to Fujian for entrepreneurship and employment.

Chen Qin, project manager of the Pingtan Taiwan Pioneer Park, said: "I am fortunate to have been born in this great era and have the honor to serve compatriots on both sides of the Straits. We will do our best to help companies apply for talent selection and identification, employment and entrepreneurship support, and children's education security to strengthen the Taiwan Pioneer Park. The service functions provide a broader development space for cross-Straits creators."

The FTZ is striving to be a vital part in the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, as an important point and for dual-cycle economic development pattern.

Connecting the Yangtze River Delta, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Fujian has geographic advantages for the better utilization of domestic and international markets and serves as a key hub to promote innovation and opening-up.

It is exploring a higher level of autonomy and openness by connecting with international rules such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, and striving to take the lead in making breakthroughs in the fields of telecommunications, education and medical care.

The zone is to strengthen economic and trade exchanges and cooperation, improve overseas investment service platforms, encourage local enterprises to "go global".

It also creates a maritime channel network covering Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia and surrounding areas, and reaching Africa, Europe and the Americas.

The zone improves the clustering and allocation of cargo sources, develops the integration of sea-rail transport and unblocks the major international trade channels of land, sea and air.

The zone strengthens the interconnection of customs clearance, standards, information and other aspects with countries and regions involved in the BRI, innovates logistics supervision methods and carries out international trade risk identification.

Chen Zhiping, general manager of Fujian Ports Group, said: "We will attract more international port and shipping logistics, trade, investment and other related enterprises and associations to join the Silk Road Maritime alliance, continue to improve the service standard system, and create a platform integrated with ports, shipping and trade."

The FTZ is deepening cooperation with the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in such areas as policy coordination, personnel training, and project development; advancing the layout of the supply chain of commodity trade in BRICS countries; exploring the construction of BRICS demonstration electronic ports; promoting international cooperation in smart customs clearance; and creating a high-level opening to the outside world.

The FTZ focuses on cultivating key industries and creating special economic zones with international influence, with efforts made to upgrade major industrial chains, and build them into an important industrial area with creativity, influence and competitiveness.

It has deepened the construction of "smart ports", applied artificial intelligence, 5G and blockchain and promoted port transformation and upgrading.

"We must keep in mind the original mission, coordinate the promotion of epidemic prevention and control, economic and social development, and the self-development of Fujian.

"The construction of the pilot trade zone has achieved greater results, with a virtuous circle of market connectivity, industry integration, innovation and rules connected.

"We are building an important hub for the mutual promotion of domestic and international dual cycles, and a higher-level new open economic system for the vanguard," Wu said.

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