Masterplan for Hainan free trade port unveiled

Hopes for scheme to boost economy and business sit beside loftier expectations that new zone will also bring a ‘shared future for humanity’ in outline draft

by Nadeem Xu
Masterplan for Hainan free trade port unveiled
Hello sailor: Hainan hopes to be welcoming more international shipping trade as plans for a free-trade zone are released.

(ATF) Chinese authorities have released a master plan for a free-trade port on Hainan, positioning the southern island province as an entrepot to rival Hong Kong within two decades. 

A free trade port system focusing on trade and investment liberalization and facilitation will be "basically established" in Hainan by 2025 and become "more mature" by 2035, according to the plan.

The authorities expect to make Hainan, China's largest special economic zone, the frontline of China's integration into the global economic system, according to the plan.

Building a “free trade port system with Chinese characteristics” is a significant plank of leader Xi Jinping’s overall development plan for the country, the document states.

The document also makes far-fetched claims that the trade port will be able to help heal international commerce rifts and “build a community of a shared future for humanity”, it said.

The world is facing a growing wave of protectionism and unilateralism that threatens the globally integrated economy. Building the Hainan free trade port is of vital importance in the pursuit of an open economy, deepening market-based reforms and improving the business environment, it reads. 

Instead of rushing for quick results, China will advance the plan gradually, officials said. Hainan will be given more autonomy to reform its economy and will be encouraged to make both the laws and the regulatory system more flexible and efficient. That’s hoped to clear institutional obstacles that hamper the flow of trade.

The construction of the free trade port will provide support to national strategic goals in terms of institutional innovation, growth impetus and greater opening-up, the document said. Hainan will enhance exchanges and cooperation with Southeast Asian countries, and promote joint development with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.

The master plan also envisages grasping opportunities in the technological and industrial retooling of the economy, focusing on tourism, modern services and high-tech industries to foster new competitive edges for the island.

The rules and regulations will be made to align with international norms, while a system for risk prevention and control will be in place, it said.