16 April 2018

Cameroon: Regional Integration - China Announces Creation of Free Trade Port

It is meant to enhance trade amongst member states of the Boao Forum for Asia.

China has announced the establishment of a free trade seaport that will offer a more relaxed regulatory environment than the free trade zone in Shanghai. President Xi Jinping made the statement recently at the 17th Boao Forum for Asia annual conference that held in Hainan Province, disclosing his economic plans for the next five years.

According to the reform initiative, import of goods through the port will be free. The Chinese government will drop tariffs, duties, quotas, province-specific criteria for imports and other costs and barriers. The free trade port will enhance regional integration amongst Boao Forum member States and also offer inhabitants and tourists more choices of brands and boost competition.

However, the resort province of Hainan, home to the town of Boao, will have to compete with 11 other provinces and cities for China's first free trade seaport, which will boast a more liberalised trade environment. Xi also announced the liberalisation of China's financial, services and car manufacturing industries and increased imports by significantly lowering tariffs on automobiles and strengthening protection on intellectual property for foreign firms.

The fact that China's service sector (ICTs) is still low as compared to America, Britain and India, requires that measures be put in place to push forward the sector.

Reason why President Xi announced that he will promote import growth and open up China's service sector to greater foreign investments. He promised to increase imports and achieve greater balance of international payments under the current account.

The creation of the free trade port and other reform initiatives outlined in Boao are in line with the objective of the Boao Forum for Asia, which is to promote regional integration amongst member countries in this age of increasing global trade.

The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia was attended by Presidents, Prime Ministers and business and scientific circle representatives from Asia and other parts of the world. Various Asian leaders and heads of international organisations expressed support for economic openness, free trade, fair globalization and interconnectivity. Corroborating President Xi Jinping, Pakistan's Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, said approaches to economic development must include the enterprising spirit of Asian people and their common aspirations for better lives.

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