The construction of a free trade port has begun in Hainan province and has already made a major breakthrough in furthering all-around reform and opening-up, said Wang Bin — a member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China's Hainan Committee — during a news conference on Wednesday during the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2023.
"The policies and institutional systems for the FTP have been gradually established," Wang said.
More than 180 policy documents have been implemented, including three "zero tariffs" commodity lists and tariff exemptions for domestic sales of processed value-added goods.
Negative lists for foreign investment have been reduced to 27, the shortest in the country, and the five-year increment of business entities has exceeded the total of the previous 30 years. Hainan's growth rate for business entities has remained the first in the country for 36 consecutive months.
The province's minimal approval requirements for items subject to evaluation and examination are part of a centralized examination and approval management model and "have become a national benchmark", Wang said.
Hainan has been committed to fostering a first-class business environment that is law-based, international, convenient, open, transparent and predictable, and has logged 134 cases of institutional innovation, he said.
Now the entire island is ready for customs closure, Wang said. The operation mainly includes 64 tasks, 31 construction projects and 27 pressure tests, all of which are being looked at to ensure that the hardware conditions for customs closure are available this year and expanded to the entire island by the end of 2025.
Since the release in 2020 of the master plan for the construction of the Hainan FTP, the provincial government has set up special research task forces to undertake research and promote island-wide, independent customs operations.
So far, phased progress has been achieved in all the preparatory work, and systems have been deepened, Wang said.
The first 25 island-wide independent customs operation projects are underway and progressing smoothly, Wang said. With a total investment of about 11.7 billion yuan ($1.7 billion), they involve the construction of facilities at eight ports that are open to foreign countries, as well as the construction of information platforms.
"After completion, the projects will meet the requirements for hardware and software facilities in island-wide customs operations, provide important support for safety supervision through multiple means and with fewer formalities," he said.
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