UK companies provide practical policy support to Chinese Free Trade Zones

TheCityUK & CBBC publish first expert papers on China’s Free Trade Zones initiative

Today in London, TheCityUK and the China-Britain Business Council pledged to support China’s development of its Free Trade Zone (FTZ) policy and the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone.

As part of Chinese Premier Li’s visit to London, the first in a series of expert papers written by leading UK-based firms suggesting ways in which FTZs could develop to meet China’s economic reform plans were published.

Copies of the three papers were handed over to Chinese Commerce Minister, Gao Hucheng, by Minister for Government Policy, Oliver Letwin, during the UK-China seminar on “Prospects for EU-China Trade: the EU-China Free Trade Agreement and China's Free Trade Zones”.

The three papers published provide an international business perspective on three topics:

The first, on Negative Lists, was written by Linklaters and considers how foreign investment rules or negative lists are operated in a number of territories around the world and how they can be refined to improve their effectiveness.

The second, on Bonded Warehousing, was co-authored by Deloitte and the London Metal Exchange and looks at how bonded warehouse customs schemes facilitate the movement of goods.

The third paper, written by Lloyd’s of London and JLT, covers Maritime Insurance as a key building block for economic development.

The papers were produced following detailed discussions with Chinese counterparties by the International Experts Consultation Group (IECG), a body of more than 50 major firms chaired by Sir Gerry Grimstone, Chairman of TheCityUK. The IECG was established following the success of the UK-China Symposium on the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone held alongside the Prime Minister’s visit to China last December. The establishment of the group is a joint initiative organised by TheCityUK and the CBBC.

Oliver Letwin said 

The UK, as a strong proponent of free trade, wants these reforms to be a resounding success. That is why the Government asked Gerry Grimstone to set up the FTZ International Experts Consultation Group to provide the business perspective on different elements of the reforms. I am delighted that the first of their discussion papers have now been published. I hope they provide practical support to Chinese policymakers as they develop their reforms.

Sir Gerry Grimstone said:

The Chinese Free Trade Zones represent an important part of the most fundamental economic reforms in the world today. Once established, they will greatly benefit not just China but global trade and investment flows. The China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone is a test ground for policies that one day might apply across the whole of China. Direct dialogue between Chinese experts and skilled practitioners from a variety of international firms is helping Chinese policy makers design polices that will maximise their effectiveness.

TheCityUK and China-Britain Business Council have also been working with the City of London Corporation and the Mayor of London on this important initiative.