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Hainan on rise amid policy boost

By Ouyang Shijia and Zhong Nan in Beijing and Ma Zhiping in Haikou Source: China Daily Updated: 2021-04-13


Customers visit Sanya Hailyu Duty-Free City on its opening day in Sanya, Hainan province, on Dec 30 last year. Three duty-free shopping centers in Sanya opened on that day. [Luo Yunfei/China News Service]

China prepares package of measures to expand foreign investors' market access

China is preparing a package of preferential policies to further facilitate free trade and investment, and relax market access for foreign investors in China's southern Hainan Free Trade Port, offering huge growth opportunities for global stakeholders, officials and experts said on Monday.

They said the preferential policies highlight the government's ongoing efforts to open wider to the outside world, which is set to attract a growing number of global investors from sectors such as medicine, healthcare, education, high-tech and culture to invest and develop in the Hainan Free Trade Port.

Cong Liang, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, said China has been actively promoting the construction of major projects in the free trade port.

"We will work out an action plan for the construction of those major projects, and set up a reserve system for major projects," he said at a news conference in Beijing.

China has already drafted a negative list for cross-border service trade in Hainan, and a number of measures will be released to further advance trade liberalization and facilitation in the island, said Vice-Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen.

Last week, the central government launched a series of special measures to relax market access in the Hainan Free Trade Port and turn it into a focal point for China's deepened reforms.

According to Wang, the Ministry of Commerce, together with another 19 departments, will jointly unveil 28 special measures in the near future to promote the liberalization and facilitation of trade, in a move to build a high-quality free trade port in Hainan and improve related policies for free trade.

Among the measures, the government will relax curbs on the import and export of crude oil, refined oil, sugar and other goods, cancel measures for automatic import licenses and import licenses for mechanical and electrical products, and exempt technology import and export business from having to go through filing and registration.

The new measures also include developing the secondhand car export business in Hainan, supporting the province's development of new types of offshore international trade and digital, technological and cultural trade and innovating modes of international cooperation in the service trade.

A new offshore international trade center and a regional international exhibition hub will be built in Hainan.

The newly announced measures led shares of companies with links to the Hainan Free Trade Port to jump 1.69 percent on Thursday, with Huawen Media Group and Hainan Dadonghai Tourism Centre (Holdings) Co both surging by the 10 percent daily trading limit, according to information provider Wind Info.

Experts said the preferential policies highlight the government's ongoing efforts to implement the master plan for the free trade port released in June, which requires establishing a basic free trade port policy system with a key focus on facilitating free trade and investment by 2025.

Cui Weijie, deputy director of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce, said the policies will help gather key resource elements, promote high-quality development of tourism, modern services and high-tech industries and establish the Hainan Free Trade Port as a model for other regions to expand opening-up.

Tao Jin, deputy director of the macroeconomic research center of the Suning Institute of Finance, said the policy boost is set to promote the innovation-driven and high-quality development of the Hainan Free Trade Port. "It is set to attract more talent and capital from home and abroad and gather various industrial resources."

Tao said that the government was likely to open up more fields in the cultural, tourism and financial sectors and further shorten the negative lists for foreign investors' market access.

Fabrice Megarbane, president of L'Oreal's North Asia zone and CEO of L'Oreal China, said Hainan's further opening-up is an innovative way to stimulate consumption, and the company believes it will be a well-balanced strategy to satisfy consumers' huge appetite for beauty products.

The French company will showcase a number of beauty brands in a 500-square-meter space at the upcoming first China International Consumer Products Expo in Haikou, capital of Hainan, from May 7 to 10.

"Consumption has become the core driving force for economic growth in China and beauty is becoming a beacon industry," he said. "We expect to provide more and better products and experiences for travelers in Hainan."

He Wei contributed to this story.