China’s MOFCOM Denies Having Approved 12 New Regional Free Trade Zones

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SHANGHAI – Last Wednesday, Economic Information Daily (EID), a news agency directly supervised by the state-owned Xinhua News Agency, reported that China’s State Council had approved 12 more regional free trade zones (FTZs). It further announced that Guangdong Province and Tianjin had completed the finalizing investigations of their detailed FTZ schemes while most of the other approved proposals were at the beginning of this process.

Last Friday, however, an officer from the Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs of China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), clarified that thus far the State Council has not approved any FTZs except for the Shanghai FTZ. The officer did confirm that some provinces and cities have submitted their application for building FTZs and they are “currently conducting research and demonstrations.”

China Briefing has contacted MOFCOM directly to further confirm that the FTZs other than the Shanghai FTZ have yet to be approved. Nevertheless, it seems that the approval for new regional FTZs will just be a matter of time.

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