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UPDATE 1-China approves 7 new free trade zones in bid to open economy
March 31, 2017 / 10:07 AM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-China approves 7 new free trade zones in bid to open economy

* Plan will bring the number of free trade zones to 11

* Each new zone will have a different priority (Adds details, quotes)

BEIJING, March 31 (Reuters) - China's cabinet has approved the establishment of seven new free trade zones to prepare for further opening up its economy, the commerce ministry said on Friday.

The new free trade zones (FTZs) will be in Liaoning, Zhejiang, Henan, Hubei, Chongqing, Sichuan and Shaanxi, a document issued in Beijing showed.

"We are building free trade zones with the aim of creating reform experiences that can be replicated throughout the country and conducting risk testing for openness throughout the country," vice commerce minister Wang Shouwen told a news conference.

Chinese leaders have pledged to open the world's second-largest economy wider to foreign investors.

The latest approvals brought the total number of Chinese free trade zones to 11.

China set up its first FTZ in Shanghai in 2013, and opened them in Guangdong, Fujian and Tianjin in 2014.

The new FTZs will learn from the reform experiences in Shanghai and other existing zones but have different priorities, Wang said.

Zhejiang's FTZ will focus on international maritime services and international oil storage, while Liaoning will focus on deepening state firm reform, he said.

He said Chongqing's FTZ will aim to promote the development of China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative while Henan will focus on international logistics and transportation, he said. (Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk and Kevin Yao; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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