Thursday, 31 October 2013

China Updates- Shanghai Free Trade Zone

The China (Shanghai) pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) opened in September. This is an amalgamation of four existing FTZs and a logistics park and several sets of regulations and a "negative list" have been issued. The negative list includes prohibited and restricted sectors including, curiously, salt wholesaling and, less surprisingly, making available new websites.Items not on the list do not have to be approved but have to be registered.

Although this has been "much anticipated", the importance is more as an experiment for China than as a real opportunity for foreign business. It is a toe in the water to see how relaxation of restrictions which remain in the rest of China would pan out.

Specific examples: allowing some Chinese banks to conduct offshore business; allowing foreign medical insurance companies to set up; various relaxations relating to shipping and aircraft, including finance leasing; "exploring" ways for Chinese and foreign law firms to work together; various measures for travel agencies, makers of games consoles, HR, construction, design and engineering, and credit checks.

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