World Economy

China to Set Up 3 More FTZs

China to Set Up 3 More FTZsChina to Set Up 3 More FTZs

China will establish three new free trade zones (FTZs), the government said Tuesday, more than one year after setting up the first in the commercial hub of Shanghai.

Commerce ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said that the new zones would be in Guangdong province in southern China, Fujian in the east, and the provincial-level city of Tianjin southeast of Beijing, AFP reported.

The new zones would be on a trial basis, he added. “The three regions are making plans on the FTAs based mainly on the trial programs in the Shanghai FTA with local geographical and industrial features taken into account,” Shen told reporters at a monthly briefing.

The move is intended to “form new impetus for reform and opening up” and “complement” the Shanghai FTZ, he said.

The Shanghai free trade zone was set up in September last year with vows to implement a range of financial reforms, including full convertibility of the yuan currency and freer interest rates.

Those promises have yet to be fulfilled, but in September this year, China launched a gold market in the FTZ and Microsoft launched its Xbox One in China - made possible by a new policy for the zone.

  FDI Jumps 22.2%

Foreign investment into China accelerated in November, government data showed Tuesday, despite a worsening slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy and concerns over business risks.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) – which excludes financial sectors – rose 22.2 percent year-on-year, the commerce ministry said, totaling $10.36 billion.

The figure compares with an increase of 1.3 percent in October to $8.53 billion. FDI had hit a four-year-low in August of $7.20 billion. For the first 11 months of 2014, FDI amounted to $106.24 billion, the ministry said, an increase of 0.7 percent year-on-year.

“Investment from major countries and regions was generally stable,” commerce ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said.

Chinese authorities have this year launched anti-monopoly, pricing and other inquiries into foreign firms in sectors ranging from auto manufacturing and pharmaceuticals to baby milk, fuelling fears Beijing is targeting them, a charge the commerce ministry repeatedly denies.

China’s appeal as an investment destination has also been declining in recent years owing to rising labor and land costs and competition from other Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam.

Officials have also blamed source country factors, such as Washington’s drive to move industrial production back to the United States.

  Economy Expands

China’s economy expanded 7.3 percent in the July-September quarter, slower than the 7.5 percent expansion in the previous three months and the worst result since 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis.

In the first 11 months, FDI fell 39.7 percent from Japan to $4.08 billion, 22.2 percent from the US to $2.46 billion, 9.8 percent from the European Union

(EU) to $6.17 billion, and 23.6 percent from the ASEAN group of Southeast Asian countries to $5.87 billion.