China Confirms Plans For New Free Trade Zone In Yangtze River Delta

Yangtze River Delta Economic Zone
A man repairs a container at an industrial port (Photo: Reuters )

After rumors had circulated that China was going to be developing a new free trade zone (FTZ) in the Yangtze River Delta Economic Zone, the country's Shanghai Development and Reform Commission has confirmed that the set up of a new FTZ is in fact already in the docket.

The region is currently home to the economic hub of Shanghai and generates a massive amount of revenue and tax for the entire country.

The deputy director of China's Shanghai Development and Reform Commission, Zhu Min, had confirmed that the FTZ in the region was going to be built, but he did not confirm its exact location.

Local Media outlets had speculated that the new FTZ could be set up somewhere in the Jiangsu province.

Following the confirmation of the development of the new FTZ, share prices for trade zone-related companies immediately spiked. Companies such as Suzhou New District High-Tech Industrial and Wanlin Modern Logistics saw increases that exceeded the daily allowable maximum increase on China's stock markets.

The Yangtze River Delta Economic Zone is located in eastern China and encompasses around 28 cities, dominated mostly by the city of Shanghai.

The area is a relatively developed economic region that accounts for around 20 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The businesses in the region are also responsible for around a third of the imports and exports in China.

Pilot FTZs in the region actually already exist, with a number set up in areas such as Anhui, Shanghai, and Zhejiang. As of the moment, the province in Jiangsu is the only area without its own FTZ.

According to the state-backed financial publication 21st Century Business Heard, the new FTZ will likely be set up in the Suzhou Industrial  Park, which is a country-level administrative area located in Suzhou. The media outlet also stated that if its speculation is incorrect, the new FTZ may be set up in a location similar to the Suzhou Industrial  Park found in other provinces.

As of the moment, the exact location of the new FTZ is still highly classified as is considered a national-level matter. Officials privy to the details of the new development have refused to provide any further information on the matter.

Some local officials in Jiangsu province have stated that their area will likely be the best candidate for the new FTZ, given that the State Council, the provincial government, and the provincial party committee have previously expressed their support in developing an FTZ in the province's capital of Nanjing.

However, some of the FTZ in neighboring provinces have expressed their concerns about the proposed new FTZ. The province of Zhejiang has stated that the expansion of current FTZs will actually make much more economic sense as opposed to the construction of a new one. 

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