Shanghai FTZ to speed up data flow, cooperation

Updated: Feb 7, 2024 By SHI JING in Shanghai China Daily Print
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An entrance to the Lingang Special Area of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone. [CHEN ZHIQIANG/FOR CHINA DAILY]

The China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone will further focus on facilitating data flow and strengthening international data cooperation, to advance institutional opening-up by aligning with high-standard economic and trade rules, local officials said on Tuesday.

The comments came during a news conference on Tuesday after the municipal government released a new set of guidelines addressing the general plan released by the State Council, China's Cabinet, in early December to deepen the opening-up of the Shanghai FTZ.

Zhu Min, director of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, said the formulation of important data catalogs and the establishment of a legal, safe and convenient cross-border data flow mechanism should be first attempted in the Pudong New Area, where the Shanghai FTZ is located, as the general plan has suggested.

The State Council's general plan has also proposed to build an international open-source promotion agency to elevate the scope and intensity of public data openness.

Small and medium-sized enterprises have been advised to strengthen exchanges with overseas institutions on the digital economy, Zhu said.

To better conduct the general plan, the Shanghai FTZ will set up a unified system for cross-border data exchange, featuring higher compatibility and interoperability.

Apart from supporting the traditional electronic data interchange and application programming interface, the unified system is expected to consider the application of cross-chain docking of blockchain, which will complete the exchange mechanism of the "single window system", or the trade facilitation that allows an international trader to submit information to a single agency, he said.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai FTZ will introduce management measures for the authorization and operation of public data used at the "single window system".

The measures will cover the processing, utilization and services for such data, Zhu added.

Yang Chao, deputy director of the administrative committee of the Shanghai FTZ, said major breakthroughs should be made at the Shanghai FTZ, with the introduction of catalogs for key data as one important mission.

To better serve this goal, Pudong will roll out a batch of new regulations and measures to nurture the local data market, he said.

Lingang Special Area, the part of the Shanghai FTZ included in 2019, is expected to roll out its first batch of general data lists and key data catalogs in March, said Zhao Yihuai, deputy director of Lingang's administrative committee.

Lingang should take the lead in exploring and carrying out pilot projects for mutual recognition of data rules.

It will work closer with the economies signing the Digital Economic Partnership Agreement to deepen cooperation in digital trade. It will also seek to build a cross-border interoperability service platform and an authentication hub for digital identities, he said.

Efforts will be made in Lingang to produce standard contracts for data export. There will also be pilot projects on the protection, certification and international mutual recognition of personal information in Lingang, Zhao said.

By giving full play to local data industrial parks, key industrial clusters of data outsourcing, international cloud services and data compliance should be part of Lingang.

The area will also develop the outbound offshore data industry, exploring new business models such as offshore data processing, analysis and storage, he added.

The general plan said that financial institutions can transfer data required for daily operations to overseas destinations, as guided by China's security rules for cross-border transmission and the related data classification regulations.

Cross-border financial information services, as well as cross-border portfolio consulting and management have become integral to China's outbound financial services as the country deepens its opening-up in the financial sector, said Shi Liya, director of the cross-border renminbi business department at the People's Bank of China Shanghai head office.

The PBOC's Shanghai head office will provide domestic investment management, valuation and accounting services for fund products established overseas. It will support overseas investors to increase their yuan-denominated asset allocation. Cross-border transfers of leased assets in renminbi settlements will also be supported, she said.

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