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China approves three new free trade zones
BEIJING -- Three more free trade zones (FTZs) in Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian, and improvements to the Shanghai FTZ were approved at a Tuesday meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.
FTZs are important for exploring new paths and acquiring new experiences, said a statement released after the meeting.
The statement said the Shanghai FTZ has made "positive progress" over more than a year, generating a model that can be replicated elsewhere.
The Shanghai FTZ, launched in September 2013, is a testing bed for reforms that range from administration, investment, finance through services.
The new zones, as well as the Shanghai FTZ, will continue working for institutional innovation, according to the statement.
The FTZs are part of a new, more open economic system, exploring new models for regional economic cooperation, and establishing a law-based climate for business and commerce, the statement said.
 
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Success of Shanghai FTZ to be promoted across China, by Shi Jing, China Daily 
 
The successful experiences and milestones achieved by the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone will be duplicated and promoted across the country and will be the focus of the free trade zones in the new year.
According to Chen Yin, deputy director of the administrative committee of the FTZ, 27 results concerning systematic innovation, have been promoted all over China or in some specific areas of the country so far.
Another 28 policies, which have been successfully implemented in the FTZ to facilitate investment management, trade, finance and service industry development, is under final scrutiny of the State Council and will be hopefully promoted soon. Six other policies concerning systematic innovation in Customs as well as inspection and quarantine will be duplicated and promoted in China's other special Customs supervision areas.
The expanded area of the Shanghai FTZ, which was announced last Friday, is an attempt to promote the systematic innovation to a wider area. In the future, these fruitful results may not be restricted to be applied only within the FTZ but also be expanded to an even larger area, said Chen.
Ever since the FTZ was launched in late September last year, some noticeable progress has been made up till now.
The business environment has largely improved as new policies, such as the negative list, have been introduced. By the end of November, a total of 14,000 new companies have been set up ever since the Shanghai FTZ was established in September last year, outnumbering the total number in the past 23 years before the establishment of the FTZ. Among these companies, 2,114 of them are overseas companies, up 10.4 times year–on-year, taking up 43 percent of the total number of overseas companies in Shanghai.
Foreign investment has accelerated at the same time. A total 160 overseas investment projects completed so far, with the total amount of foreign investment from Chinese companies reaching 3.8 billion yuan ($610 million).
More than 60 new policies have been introduced by the local Customs, inspection and quarantine, as well as maritime affairs departments. Companies in the FTZ have seen their logistics cost reduced by 10 percent so far.
Ever since the Chinese central bank set up its own free trade account system in May this year, 10 companies have been connected to the system and 6,925 free trade accounts have been set up, with the accounts' balance reaching to 4.89 billion yuan by the end of November.
 
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