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Policy and Politics Behind Shanghai's Free Trade Zone Program

UCD-ITS-RP-14-01

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Suggested Citation:
Wan, Zheng, Yang Zhang, Xuefeng Wang, Jihong Chen (2014) Policy and Politics Behind Shanghai's Free Trade Zone Program. Journal of Transport Geography 34, 1 - 6

China launched the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) Program on September 29, 2013 in a bid to reduce administrative interventions, ease restrictions on investments, further open up its financial system, and internationalize its currency to booster shipping, logistics, and commerce. This article aims to present a background of the Shanghai FTZ and some reflections on it. China’s economic reconstruction has made a major impact on its port cities. Competitions between ports are gradually evolving into competitions between supply chains, with ports no longer considered as isolated links in the transport chain but rather as integral links in the supply chain. Ports are transitioning into fourth-generation ports with the establishment of logistics and value-added activities, which are developed in conjunction with local industrial and service businesses. In this trend, China’s port cities can provide a wide range of value-added services and become centers of commodity flow, capital flow, and information flow. Specifically, the combined effects of driving the development of peripheral industries and actively coordinating the activities of relevant parties help regulate the operations of the entire supply chain to obtain potential value-added benefits. The implementation of the Shanghai FTZ will not only stimulate trade but will also bring increased shipping and finance opportunities to the city. With free trade as the new direction and focus of the country’s economic initiatives, the Shanghai FTZ will hopefully lay the groundwork for a new round of reforms and restructuring of the Chinese economy.

Keywords: Shanghai; Container ports; Free Trade Zone; Reforms; Governance