By Xinyi Li, EDITOR
The 2nd Western China International Fair for Investment and Trade (the 2nd WCIFIT) will be held from May 16 to 19 at Chongqing International Expo Center. Meanwhile, this year is the second anniversary of the establishment of China (Chongqing) Free Trade Pilot Zone (CFTZ). According to the latest statistics from the Executive Committee, there will be 280 Fortune Global 500 enterprises, 1,900 multinational corporations, and 22,000 domestic and foreign guests from 57 countries and regions gather in Chongqing, to witness the development of CFTZ.
On May 15 will see the Matchmaking Conference of Pilot Free Trade Zones. Two years have passed since the unveiling of CFTZ on April 1, 2017. What about the overall development of CFTZ?
According to Zhang Kui, Director of Institutional Innovation Department of Chongqing Municipal Commission of Commerce, CFTZ has attached great importance to regional development from an overall perspective. Offering regional services for the whole, it strives to facilitate the construction of CFTZ with stringent standards. Relying on high-quality development driven by high-level opening-up, Chongqing continuously improves its planning, innovation, and development. The remarkable results made during the process have been a shot in the arm for the implementation of the Western Development Strategy, and the development of the “Belt and Road” and the Yangtze River Economic Belt.
Chongqing will set a new goal based on the leading role in opening-up. CFTZ aims to build one hub, three centers, and one base. This means an inland international logistics hub centered on multimodal transport, an inland international trade center focused on trading of goods, a modern financial center featuring settlement and clearing facilitation, a modern service center aimed at boosting interconnectivity, and an important national modern manufacturing base supported by scientific and technological innovation.
Meanwhile, CFTZ is making new progress in institutional innovation. As of February 2019, it has completed 129 of the 151 pilot projects assigned by the state, with the implementation rate of 85.4%. Chongqing has implemented 127 tasks of the reform in pilot free trade zones replicated and rolled out across China. Furthermore, CFTZ is an active participant in the exploration with its characteristics. Following the Three-Step Development Strategy to develop land-borne trade, it has issued the world’s first international letter of credit for railway bill of lading. With the financialization of railway waybill, it has therefore realized the batch application. The active regional cooperation has accelerated the coming of the inland era of international trade. Striving for national empowerment, CFTZ has proposed 35 suggestions about the empowerment of systematization. The State Council has taken 53 measures to support pilot free trade zones in deepening reform and innovation, and 41 of them apply to CFTZ. Chongqing has obtained two privileges, including providing railway mail service and building the port drugs and biological products imported for the first time.
Moreover, it has made advances in the implementation of projects. As of this March, there have been 24,485 new enterprises, with a total registered capital of RMB 250.079 billion. With the introduction of 1,872 projects, the total amount of contracts (agreements) signed has reached RMB 561.959 billion. Driven by CFTZ, Chongqing’s total amount of imports and exports has reached RMB 520 billion, an increase of 15.9%. The service trade has grown by 15.9%. The foreign investment in actual use has exceeded USD 10 billion, and the foreign direct investment totaled USD 3.25 billion, a growth of 43.8%. Such results have earned it the first place in Midwest China.
At last, there has been a better business environment. With the further implementation of the reform relating to a commercial system, CFTZ has begun the negative list management on foreign investment in an all-around way, and the on-the-spot service in filing has covered all of the foreign investment projects. CFTZ has obtained 33 delegated municipal items related to economic management and social administration. It is promoting the pilot reforms of integrating multiple certificates into one and separating the approval processes of business license and business certificates. With the popularization of “forty-one-into-one business license”, it provides the immediate service, online service, nearby service, and one-stop service and counseling service in registration for business entitles. The system of the basic-level registrar is also under implementation. Therefore, enterprises can complete their registration within a maximum of three hours rather than 20 workdays before. Based on CFTZ, the business environment of Chongqing has occupied fifth place in China, and the first in West China.