China's first free trade zone was launched in Shanghai, 2013. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/Min Rui]
Shanghai Securities News reported that China's third group of free trade zones in the provinces of Shaanxi, Hubei and Sichuan are quickly closing in on their launch dates.
The paper cited Zhao Runmin, an official with the commerce department in Shaanxi, saying that they have started preparatory work on the Shaanxi free trade zone.
Earlier reports from other media outlets also said that preparations for free trade zones have been underway in Hubei and Sichuan since last year.
Bai Ming, an official under the Ministry of Commerce, also told Shanghai Securities News that the latest list of free trade zones could be released soon.
Bai also said that these free trade zones will share the same negative list that specifies bans or restrictions on certain types of foreign investment.
The State Council, China's cabinet, decided last August that the country will set up new free trade zones in 6 provinces and one municipality including Liaoning, Zhejiang, Henan, Hubei, Sichuan, Shaanxi and Chongqing.
Local governments there have all submitted their plans and are waiting for the final approval.
There are 4 free trade zones in China right now including Shanghai, Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian.
The Shanghai Free Trade Zone, launched in 2013, was the first in the country as a testing ground for the reforms meant to try to liberalize the regulations governing finance, investment and trade.