China announced seven new free-trade zones (FTZs) in Liaoning, Zhejiang, Henan, Hubei, Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces, and Chongqing municipality. China launched its first FTZ in Shanghai in 2013 and added another three in Tianjin, Fujian and Guangdong, as well as expanded the FTZ in Shanghai in 2014.
This development again shows the government’s determination to accelerate the process of opening up China’s market to investors, which is one of the five development tenets outlined in the 13th Five-Year Plan. Once the new FTZs are launched, the government will have a wider area in which to pilot policies that can subsequently be expanded nationally if successful. This a positive step towards China’s 'opening up' and is expected to lower restrictions on foreign investment, trade and capital flows.
Each of the new FTZs is expected to leverage its own particular geographic and economic strengths. We have listed the focus of each new FTZ and the sectors that are likely to receive the most benefits.