Open Governance
Regulations on China (Sichuan) Pilot Free Trade Zone Implemented

To encourage the Pilot Free Trade Zone to engage in preliminary trials, promote all-round innovation with institutional innovation at its core, and fully vitalize market players...The Regulations on China (Sichuan) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) (hereinafter referred to as the Regulations) was officially implemented on July 1. At the press conference of the Standing Committee of People's Congress of Sichuan Province on the same day, the reporter learned that a highlight of the Regulations is that it encourages reform and innovation. The Regulations specifies that an innovation-oriented assessment and evaluation mechanism shall be established in the Pilot FTZ, and a mechanism of liability exemption and accountability based on scientific evaluation shall be formed.

The Regulations contains 60 articles in nine chapters, and specifies the objectives of the Pilot FTZ. It regulates the development of the Pilot FTZ from seven aspects, including management system, government services, investment promotion, trade facilitation, financial innovation, legal environment and coordinated development, which will ensure that the construction of the Pilot FTZ has rules to follow and that innovation reform has legal grounds.

The Regulations are closely aligned with the Foreign Investment Law, stipulating that the Pilot FTZ shall implement pre-establishment national treatment and negative list management system, formulate policies and measures to promote and facilitate foreign investment in accordance with the law, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors and foreign-funded enterprises. At the same time, the advanced experience and important achievements gained in the reform and innovation of the Pilot FTZ shall be promptly summarized and promoted. The articles in the Regulations embody reform achievements that have a significant influence across the country, such as "single document multimodal transport", "a system to list all items over which government review and approval are required and streamline the procedures within hours" and "promoting the new mode of pre-service export rebates for manufacturing enterprises". Notably, the Regulations also attaches importance to creating a legal environment, and specifies that the Pilot FTZ shall strengthen protection of intellectual property rights and establish a comprehensive management system for intellectual property rights, enforce environmental protection laws, regulations and standards, support the development of arbitration services, strengthen the system to encourage those with good credit records and punish the opposites. With regard to synergistic opening-up, theRegulations makes it clear that in the Pilot FTZ the strategy for coordinated opening of inland areas and coastal, border and riverside areas will be implemented and coordinated opening up with countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the Yangtze River Economic Belt will be strengthened. The Regulations also expand the scope of application in an innovative manner, stipulating that it shall be applied to the coordinated reform pilot zones under the Pilot FTZ designated by the provincial government.

At the press conference,Liu Xin,Director-General of Sichuan Provincial Department of Commerce, introduced that China (Sichuan) Pilot Free Trade Zone Office under Sichuan Provincial Department of Commerce would fulfill responsibilities in overall planning and coordination, as well as guidance and inspection, improve supporting measures, promote reform and innovation, and continue to explore differentiation strategy. At the same time, efforts should be stepped up to focus on innovation in the "five core systems" including two-way investment management, trade facilitation, financial openness and innovation, regional synergy and modern government governance, boost integrated innovation, meet the highest standards in the international community, and accelerate the establishment of an international law-based and facilitation-oriented business environment. Great efforts should be made to implement the strategy for coordinated opening of inland areas and coastal, border and riverside areas, speed up the construction of coordinated reform pilot zones in the province, explore and set up collaborative open demonstration zones with other provinces, keep carrying out "Glamorous Free Trade, Open Sichuan Province" overseas to link with the world, and comprehensively promote the development of the Pilot FTZ featuring high standards, high-level openness and high-quality development.

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