Shanghai unveils new free-trade zone

China has opened a new free trade zone in Shanghai, which has been touted as the country’s boldest financial reform and economic experimentation in decades.

China Free Trade ZoneThe zone is also expected to serve as an international wine hub for wine companies.

There is a wine trade exhibition centre inside the zone where people can visit and buy wine. Although there is a purchase limit of a dozen boxes, the wine will be sold at the equivalent to the wholesale price, making it cheaper than buying at a supermarket.

However, for many wine producers, the current clearance time still takes too long. It can take more than 50 days for domestic customs and commodity inspections to be processed, which puts a huge financial pressure on all wine companies.

“It would be perfect if they could shorten the clearance to 20 days”, said Xiuyu Zhang, director of Italy Wine Trade Centre at Shanghai free trade zone. He believes the free-trade zone is going to be a work in progress, subject to constant refinement.

The new zone has allowed foreign investment, which is aimed at helping to improve China’s global competitiveness. It is hoped the new zone will serve as a platform for China’s cooperation with other countries, signalling the government’s determination to ease restrictions on investment.

Wang Zhile, researcher at China’s Ministry of Commerce said: “This time China has taken the initiative to build a pilot free trade zone. It covers about 30 square kilometres. I think it’s an important strategic measure which China is taking proactively.”

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