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Hainan on track with free trade port goal

By MA ZHIPING in Haikou China Daily Updated: 2022-07-12

The Hainan Free Trade Port has adopted more than 180 policy documents to widen market access and promote trade facilitation and liberalization, the province's top official said on Monday.

Shen Xiaoming, secretary of the Communist Party of China Hainan provincial committee, made the remark at a news conference in Haikou, the capital of Hainan, on the province's social and economic achievements in the past 10 years.

The documents include a positive "zero tariff" list for free trade port vehicles and yachts, a negative "zero tariff" list for cross-border trade in services and a catalog of encouraged industries, the provincial government said.

In addition, Shen said, the province will resolutely implement the instructions from President Xi Jinping's important speeches made during inspections in the province, as well as the spirit of the eighth Hainan Provincial Congress of the CPC, and accelerate construction of the Hainan Free Trade Port with Chinese characteristics and worldwide influence.

"We cherish the great historical opportunities given to Hainan by the CPC Central Committee and General Secretary Xi Jinping, and we have united and led Hainan people to move on with brave and courageous efforts on the journey of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," he added.

During his inspection of Hainan in April, Xi affirmed the province's remarkable progress in the construction of the Hainan Free Trade Port, the high entrepreneurial enthusiasm of provincial officials, the continuous upgrading of development quality, and the constant optimization of local development and the environment.

Shen said, "Looking back at the past 10 years, the biggest theme of Hainan's development has been comprehensively deepening reform and opening-up, and the primary highlight is the construction of the Hainan Free Trade Port".

The promulgation and implementation of the Hainan Free Trade Port Law and a number of other key policy documents have together built a free trade port policy system for Hainan that is characterized by "zero tariffs, a low tax rate and simple tax system", and the free and convenient flow of trade, investment, cross-border capital and personnel, as well as the safe and orderly flow of data.

The average annual growth rate of new market players has reached 40 percent, and the average annual growth of utilized overseas investment has grown 80 percent since 2018. In addition, more than 400,000 talented professionals have been attracted to the province since 2018, according to Shen.

Feng Fei, the governor of Hainan, said the master plan for the Hainan Free Trade Port is set to introduce islandwide customs clearance operations by 2025 as part of broader measures to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.

By 2025, the Hainan Free Trade Port will adopt an import and export management system featuring free flow between the "first line", the boundary between the Hainan Free Trade Port and other regions and countries outside China's customs territory, and the "second line", which connects the island to other areas within China's customs territory, with efficient controls, Feng said.

Solid headway in promoting the integration of institutional innovation in fields such as business registration, foreign investment management, trade supervision and financial opening-up has facilitated a more open, convenient and efficient business environment for traders and investors.

For a province that used to rely heavily on the real estate sector, Hainan is making rapid progress in developing tourism, modern services, high-tech industries and high-yield agriculture, four pillar industries that contribute about 80 percent of Hainan's gross domestic product, Shen said.