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Henan boosts foreign biz with pilot free trade zone

Updated: Sep 4, 2023 By LIU ZHIHUA China Daily Print
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A Zhengzhou Customs officer presses down a keyboard button and watches the computer screen closely.

Soon, graphics appear on the screen that help the officer determine whether a cargo truck undergoing examination holds illicit goods or not. Unpacking and repacking the goods is not required and the entire process takes just a few seconds.

That is just one example of the various trade facilitation measures adopted by the China (Henan) Pilot Free Trade Zone to improve logistics efficiency and benefit foreign-trade enterprises.

Since its establishment in 2017,the Henan pilot FTZ has made substantial progress in building modern transportation and logistics networks and promoting foreign trade.

Experts and officials said that looking ahead, the pilot FTZ is expected to further explore institutional innovations and propel its high-quality development,accumulating valuable experience in opening-up and reform for other parts of the country to learn from.

"The Henan pilot free trade zone has made remarkable institutional innovations in a variety of areas including new formats and models of foreign trade and multi-modal transportation," said Gu Xueming,president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

"Based on explorations like this,pilot free trade zones in China have formed a format to propel institutional opening-up, creating important achievements and a facilitating atmosphere," he added. Gu made the remarks at a forum on the development of pilot FTZs held in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province, in August, jointly organized by CAITEC, the Department of Commerce of Henan Province, and the city government of Zhengzhou.

Li Zhuo, vice-governor of Henan,said at the forum that as opening-up and reform are the hallmarks of modern China, the Henan pilot FTZ has been working diligently to enhance its strategic position in logistics networks connecting the domestic market as well as China and abroad, through concerted efforts in institutional innovations.

Data from the provincial government showed that a total of 41 all-cargo air freight routes have been established at Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport,with annual cargo throughput increasing from 457,000 metric tons to 705,000 tons, ranking sixth in the country. Moreover, 77 percent of the annual cargo transported is from or destined for overseas.

The China-Europe Railway Express routes via Zhengzhou have formed an international logistics network spanning more than 140 cities in more than 40 countries.Trains have run the routes more than 8,700 times.

Imports and exports through cross-border e-commerce channels increased 19.2 percent annually, on average, over the past six years in the zone and more than 216 overseas warehouses in 43 foreign countries and regions have been established or operated by its market entities.

"Zhengzhou has become the fourth most important international transportation hub in China after Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou in Guangdong province," said Wang Zhenli, deputy director-general of the Department of Commerce of Henan Province and director of the Office of the China (Henan) Pilot Free Trade Zone.

"We will continuously increase our presence in and enhance the connectivity of countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative," he added.

So far, the Henan pilot FTZ has made 546 institutional innovations in areas regarding administrative processes, regulations,finance and multi-modal transportation that combines air and inland transportation channels seamlessly.

It has slashed the time enterprises need to receive investment approvals by 90 percent and reduced application materials by 80 percent.

It has also established China's first FTZ court in central regions and pushed forward innovations regarding futures trading on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange.

A total of 131,500 enterprises have been founded in the Henan pilot FTZ, with combined registered capital reaching 1.7 trillion yuan ($234 billion). These figures have increased 4.8 fold and 6.2 fold,respectively, since the pilot FTZ was established.

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