Environment the watchword for new Beijing SEZ as Shanghai FTZ plans further liberalisation

April 6, 2017

BEIJING - High environmental standards will be set for the proposed Xiongan New Area, an economic zone near Beijing designed to integrate the capital with its surrounding areas. Key words in the building plans will be “international standards,” “Chinese characteristics,” “reform” and “innovation,” said He Lifeng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top planning body.

Speaking to Xinhua newsagency, he said the area must reach the standards of a first-class international city, and its architecture fully embody elements of Chinese culture.

Some 100 km southwest of downtown Beijing, the new area is home to Baiyangdian, one of the largest freshwater wetlands in north China. With more than 140 lakes and covering an area of 360 square kilometres, the wetland is known as the “pearl” of the North China Plain.

A specific plan to control pollution and protect the wetland environment will be drafted as part of the new area blueprint, He said.

Meanwhile, the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone is to further relax regulations on trade facilitation and foreign investment, aiming at a better-integrated mechanism to drive financial reforms in the area, according to Shanghai’s Vice Mayor, Zhou Bo.

China’s State Council is reported to have given approval to a new reform plan for the Shanghai pilot free trade zone. The Shanghai Daily said highlights of the plan include the launch of a new free trade port inside the zone, attracting foreign investors to issue yuan-denominated financial products, and cuts to taxation for companies or projects that are involved in the "Belt and Road" initiative.

"In deepening the reform within the free trade zone, we are taking the highest global standards for reference," said Zhou. "By pushing forward reform measures on trade and investment facilities, we want to send a clear message to the world that China is opening the market in all aspects."  www.webershandwick.cn (ATI).