China to launch seven new free-trade zones

China has decided to establish seven new free-trade zones (FTZs) across the country, Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

This would bring the total number of free-trade zones in the Asian nation to 11, the report said.

The new zones would be in the provinces of Liaoning, Zhejiang, Henan, Hubei, Sichuan and Shaanxi, and in Chongqing Municipality.

“The decision to expand the FTZs shows authorities’ strong resolution in advancing reforms and opening up,” said China’s Minister of Commerce, Gao Hucheng, in an interview with Xinhua.

The news agency stated that China’s first free-trade zone was set up approximately three years ago in Shanghai. The aim was to test a wide range of economic reforms, including an increased openness to foreign investment and a reduction in restrictions on capital flows, Xinhua said.

The China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone – as it is officially known – was followed by FTZs in Tianjin, Fujian and Guangdong.