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Officials hail importance of Shanghai FTZ Updated: 2023-09-19

The China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Sept 29, has served as an important test bed for China's reform and opening-up measures as well as a key engine driving high-quality economic growth, officials announced during a news conference on Sept 15.

Of the 302 institutional innovative measures that were first experimented in the 21 FTZs in China before they were promoted to the rest of the country, nearly half of them were rolled out in the Shanghai FTZ, said Zhu Zhisong, the head of Shanghai FTZ's administrative committee.

The negative list for foreign investment, which was implemented at the Shanghai FTZ, is one major institutional innovation that has been promoted across the country. In addition, the free trade account system, which was first introduced at the Shanghai FTZ, has seen 142 trillion yuan ($19.54 trillion) in cross-border payments and settlements denominated in renminbi and foreign currencies.

Industries with strategic importance to China's high-quality economic development have been the main focus of the Shanghai FTZ's institutional innovations. By implementing the medical device registration mechanism and drug marketing authorization holders system, up to 21 new Class I drugs developed by Shanghai FTZ-based companies have been introduced to the market. Meanwhile, the test road for autopilot driving in the Shanghai FTZ has been extended to more than 500 kilometers.

To optimize the business environment and government services in the FTZ, Shanghai authorities have reduced the approval time for business licenses by nearly 90 percent.

As of the end of 2022, the Shanghai FTZ had attracted $58.6 billion in foreign investment over the past decade, accounting for about 30 percent of the city's total during the same period.

In 2022, the Shanghai FTZ accounted for about 30 percent of the total import and export value of all of China's 21 FTZs.

Pudong New Area, where the Shanghai FTZ is located, saw its GDP exceed 1.6 trillion yuan last year - 2.5 times the size in 2013.

Last year, Pudong-based companies that generate an annual sales revenue of at least 20 million yuan had a combined industrial output of 1.34 trillion yuan, 1.5 times more than in 2013.

In addition, 432 multinational companies had set up their regional headquarters in Pudong in the past decade.