State Council approves Jiangxi inland open economy zone

Latest scheme hoped to lure investment to ‘overlooked’ region of China

by Nadeem Xu
State Council approves Jiangxi inland open economy zone
Ganzhou, in Jiangxi. The province, one of the poorest within China’s industrial hinterland, has been grated permission to open an open economy pilot zone. 

(ATF) The State Council has approved the establishment of an open economy pilot zone in eastern China’s Jiangxi Province.

A circular released on Monday said the general construction plan for the enclave will be issued by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The scheme will target the promotion of “high-quality development” and focus on supply-side structural reforms, the circular said.

China has scores of special trade and economic zones, many of them located near major sea ports, that offer regulatory and tax breaks to companies that locate within them. They are aimed at nurturing specific industries that the government deems worthy of development.

A slew of new zones has been announced in recent weeks as cadres seek to rejuvenate an economy that has been ravaged by the coronavirus outbreak. Among the largest is the Hainan Free Trade zone in the southern island province, for which more than 435 billion yuan has been earmarked.

The new Jiangxi zone is seen as the government’s attempt to redress complaints that the province has often been overlooked during the nation’s economic development, which has seen neighbouring Guangdong, Fujian and Zhejiang prosper.

Authorities said the zone could also aid in the development of the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s international infrastructure development plan, which has been wielded as a soft-power diplomatic tool. The BRI’s tentacles have reached as far as Italy and Eastern Europe.

The circular said the zone would also be integrated with the Yangtze River Economic Belt and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, a key part of the Yangtze River Delta industrial area.

The pilot zone should tap into regional cooperation potential, promote the free and efficient flow of resources, accelerate the construction of an open market layout and explore a new development path that advances reform, development and innovation, the circular said.