According to the Ministry of Commerce's press conference on April 28th, the development of the GBA cooperation demonstration area in the Guangdong pilot free trade zone (FTZ) has achieved outstanding results. The FTZ has become the flagship for a new round of reform and opening up in China.
Zheng Jianrong, director-general of Guangdong's Department of Commerce and director-general of the Office of the Leading Group for the Construction of the GBA, said at the conference that Guangdong has been focusing on establishing a core demonstration area in the GBA over 5 years now, making it the first choice for Hong Kong and Macao enterprises investment, for professionals to work, and for young people to start up businesses.
(File photo / Nanfang Daily)
Data shows that the Guangdong FTZ attracted most of the well-known enterprises in Hong Kong and Macao. A total of 16,700 Hong Kong and Macao enterprises have newly established operations in the FTZ, with an actual investment of 45.777 billion yuan in 2019, accounting for 39.78% of the total amount of Hong Kong and Macao investment actually utilized in the province.
Zheng said that the FTZ is striving to expand developmental space for Hong Kong and Macao enterprises and talent, setting up industrial parks and cross-border innovation platform in Nansha and Hengqin, as well as giving nearly 50% of land in Qianhai to Hong Kong enterprises. 693 innovative entrepreneur teams with 4,000 staff have settled in the youth innovation and entrepreneurship base here.
Inspection time at customs reduced by more than 80%
"The Guangdong FTZ has become the flagship project in a new round of reform and opening up in China", said Tang Wenhong, director of the department of Pilot Free Trade Zone and Free Trade Port of the Ministry of Commerce. The Guangdong FTZ explores project-based integrated innovation measures such as building a global tracing center and a distribution center to facilitate trade.
Zheng explained that the Guangdong international trade measure known as ‘single window’ was first implemented in the FTZ before being promoted nationwide as a policy. Now 324 different customs matters can be handled on this ‘online customs’ platform, shortening the overall customs clearance time for import and export by 49.53% and 83.52% respectively.
The efficiency of offline customs clearance has also been increased. A Macao customs area with an extension was set up at Hengqin port, in which the laws of Macao are implemented. Hengqin and Macao customs will collaborate in inspection processes. The inspection results of either Guangdong or Macao customs will be recognized by both sides. Hence, only one inspection will be required to cross the border.
The opening up of and innovation in financial services is also one of the focuses of the FTZ. Guangdong FTZ has attracted over 4,500 financial institutions, implementing cross-border RMB loans, two-way financial asset transfer and other financial policies.
Tang pointed out that the integration of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao policies in the FTZ has promoted the opening-up of the service industry, with 11 law firms jointly operated by Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao. Zheng added that a raft of measures have been implemented to facilitate communication between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao residents, including cross-border payment and cross-border insurance.
Authors: Will, Zoey