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China to Soon Unveil Shanghai Free-Trade Port Plan


China is making another attempt at keeping Shanghai at the cutting edge of economic reforms after its latest try in 2013 floundered.

The State Council, the nation’s cabinet, will soon unveil plans for a “free-trade port” in the world’s biggest shipping hub, according to Chen Bo, an adviser on the proposal who researches free trade zones at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan. President Xi Jinping had floated the concept last month as part of the Communist Party’s pledge to “develop new models and new forms of trade”.

The port will feature eased capital controls, no customs duties and minimum clearance procedures compared with the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone, which was established in 2013 as a laboratory to test financial deregulation. It will also be smaller – about 18 square kilometres, or roughly 15 per cent the size of the previous area.

“The FTZ has performed below expectations and lagged its lofty objectives,” Chen said. “The free port needs to carry out capital account liberalisation to emulate the freest ports in the world such as Hong Kong and Singapore. This is crucial.” Click here to read more.