(Yicai Global) Aug. 26 -- China plans to open six more pilot free trade zones, raising the country's total to 18 as the government pursues a strategy of further reform and opening up to the world, broadcaster CCTV reported.
The latest special economic zones will be located in the six provinces of Shandong, Hebei, Jiangsu, Guangxi, Yunnan and Heilongjiang, according to a plan issued by the State Council, or cabinet.
Setting up new pilot FTZs is "a major decision by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council and a strategic move to advance reform and opening up in the new era," the plan said, according to Xinhua News Agency.
Shanghai was the first place in China to set up such a tariff-free area in September 2013 to test economic and social reforms. Last week, its size was doubled with the addiction of Lingang New Area, where Tesla is building its first overseas vehicle assembly line.
The State Council's plan also sets out the business priorities for the new FTZs, CCTV said. Among them, the Shandong FTZ will explore economic cooperation with Japan and South Korea, while the Guangxi zone will focus on interaction with the Association of Southeast Asia Nations and construction of a gateway port linking the coast with western China's hinterland.
The Yunnan pilot project will involve an innovative cross-border economic cooperation model and increase international collaboration in science and technology. The Heilongjiang FTZ will explore the construction of a transport logistics hub with Russia and other areas of Northeast Asia.
The Jiangsu zone will explore ways to improve the level of overseas investment, strengthen financial support for the real economy and help industrial innovation. The Hebei FTZ will support development of an international commodity trade and the open development of biomedical and health industries.
Editor: Ben Armour