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China's Chongqing Leads Innovative Reform to Further Opening-Up

By VIVIAN YANICHONGQING|Mar 31,2021

Chongqing- The China (Chongqing) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) has gathered more than a quarter of the city’s import and export enterprises, contributing about 70% of the city’s total import and export trade, and attracting more than 40% of the city’s total foreign direct investment, according to the Chongqing Municipal Commission of Commerce Wednesday.

The China (Chongqing) Pilot Free Trade Zone has gathered more than a quarter of the city’s import and export enterprises, contributing about 70% of the city’s total import and export trade and attracting more than 40% of the city’s total foreign direct investment. (Photo/ Chongqing Municipal Commission of Commerce)

According to Zhang Zhikui, Director of the Chongqing Municipal Commission of Commerce, as of the end of last year, the 151 pilot reform tasks identified in the overall plan of the pilot FTZ have all been implemented, of which 216 were replicated and promoted national reform pilot experiences and cases.

The Chongqing Municipal Commission of Commerce holds a press conference on March 31. (iChongqing/ Vivian Yan)

Over the past four years, almost 80 innovative achievements have been cultivated, and six reform pilot experiences and best practice cases, including railway bill of lading credit financing settlement, have been replicated and promoted nationwide.

“It can be seen that the achievements of the pilot FTZ over the past years are first of all insisting on innovation and leadership,” said Zhang.

The achievements of the China (Chongqing) Pilot Free Trade Zone over the past years are due to the insistence on innovation and leadership. (Photo/ Chongqing Municipal Commission of Commerce)

Relying on the China Railway Express (Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe), the pilot FTZ actively explored land trade rules and issued the world’s first “Railway Bill of Lading International Letter of Credit” to realize mass application.

As of the end of February 2021, a total of 81 railway bills of lading have been issued, with a financing amount of approximately 22 million euros. In June 2020, the effectiveness of the transfer of railway bills of lading endorsement was supported by judicial practice, creating a precedent in the history of international trade.

Depending on the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor (ILSTC) to promote multimodal transport innovation, the pilot FTZ issued the country’s first China International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFA) multimodal bill of lading, where it completes the entire multimodal transport mode to achieve a 40% reduction in customs clearance time.

Through the Golden Waterway of the Yangtze River, the pilot FTZ has carried out innovations in integrating river-sea combined transportation to facilitate customs clearance and cooperated with the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone to explore a new model of integrating river-sea combined transportation of import and export goods at water ports.

Meanwhile, the Chongqing-Shanghai container express line was also launched. It takes the lead in the country to carry out the pilot of the “departure confirmation” model of water transportation customs and increase river transportation timeliness by 40%.

Additionally, the Chongqing pilot FTZ has successively been approved as the country’s fourth port for the first import of pharmaceuticals and biological products, 144-hour visa-free transit, tax rebate at the port of departure, cross-border e-commerce B2B export, domestic and foreign currency integrated bank account system, and QDLP pilot policy. They have played an important role in developing Chongqing’s open economy.

The China (Chongqing) Pilot Free Trade Zone has successively been approved as the country’s fourth port for the first import of pharmaceuticals and biological products. (Photo/ Chongqing Municipal Commission of Commerce)

Using the China Railway Express to Europe to conduct the normalized transportation of mail express imports and exports, Chongqing also launched the nation’s first “China Post” China Railway Express during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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China-Europe Railway Express (Chongqing-Xinou-Europe) expresses the country’s first parcel train-emergency evacuation of stranded mail from Europe. (iChongqing file photo)

Zhang added; next, the Sichuan-Chongqing Free Trade Pilot Zone will be further promoted to open up the demonstration zone by optimizing the circulation network, building a modern circulation market system, and enhancing the formation of a unified market jointly.

The Sichuan-Chongqing Free Trade Pilot Zone’s cooperative opening demonstration zone will focus on increasing the opening of key areas such as finance, technology, digital economy, talents, and medical care, expanding the opening of ports and airports.

“Sichuan and Chongqing will together develop an international gateway hub city under the Belt and Road Initiative, an inland opening strategic highland, and a new base to compete globally,” said Zhang.

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