Published: 10:36, September 27, 2023 | Updated: 10:36, September 27, 2023
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Xi calls for building higher-level pilot free trade zones
By Cao Desheng

An aerial view of the Lin-gang Special Area of China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone on Oct 22, 2022. (PHOTO / CHINA DAILY)

President Xi Jinping has called for efforts to build higher-level pilot free trade zones with an emphasis on institutional innovation to further promote institutional opening-up on par with advanced international standards and rules.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks in a recent instruction on advancing the construction of pilot FTZs.

The instruction was read by Vice-Premier He Lifeng at a symposium on the 10th anniversary of the nation's construction of pilot FTZs, which was held in Beijing on Tuesday.

In the instruction, Xi pointed out that building pilot FTZs is an important strategic step that the CPC Central Committee has taken to promote reform and opening-up in the new era.

He spoke highly of the role of the pilot FTZs in China's development in the past decade, saying that they have implemented the decisions and deployments of the CPC Central Committee, adhered to innovation and introduced a large number of fundamental and pioneering measures for reform and opening-up.

They have made many landmark and exemplary achievements in institutional innovation, effectively playing a role as a comprehensive experimental platform for reform and opening-up, he said.

Xi emphasized that on the new journey, the nation should implement the strategy of upgrading the pilot zones based on a comprehensive summary of experience in building the pilot FTZs over the past 10 years.

Efforts should be made to forge ahead with a pioneering spirit, overcome difficulties, conduct explorations in a broader range of fields and at a deeper level, and strive to build pilot FTZs at a higher level, he added.

Xi called for efforts to focus on institutional innovation, coordinate development and security, align with advanced international economic and trade rules and promote innovative development of the entire industrial chain, in order to enable the pilot FTZs to better play an exemplary role.

Participants of the meeting include officials from relevant central departments as well as those from the 21 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions where the FTZs are located.

Since China's first pilot FTZ was established in Shanghai in 2013, the nation has built 21 FTZs nationwide. Up to 302 institutional innovations have been nurtured in these areas and promoted nationwide, according to the Ministry of Commerce.