China's commerce ministry raised the idea of building a specialized pilot free trade zone (FTZ) consisting of the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, and Macao to deepen opening-up and cooperation as outlined in the 14th Five-Year Plan for Commerce Development, which was released in July.
The FTZ will be constructed based on the improvement of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) system among the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao.
The Hong Kong-Macao CEPA, the first free trade agreement between Hong Kong and Macao, was signed in October 2017.
The Chinese mainland signed separate CEPAs with Hong Kong and Macao, in June and October 2003, respectively, to forge closer ties. The CEPAs have been updated since then.