Guangzhou to establish free trade port in Nansha district

By Zhang Ye Source:Global Times Published: 2017/10/20 23:08:40

Investors were snapping up shares in Guangdong port operators and developers on Friday after the provincial capital's Party chief announced plans for a free trade port.

Four of the top 10 gainers were port and shipping firms based in the South China province on an index that tracks shipping stocks on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges.

The index closed up 4.84 percent, led by shares of the Guangzhou Port Company that surged to its daily maximum limit of 10 percent on the Shanghai A-share market.

Guangzhou is mulling construction of a free trade port in Nansha district with a "spirit of reform and innovation," the city's Party chief Ren Xuefeng told a press conference on the sidelines of the ongoing 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China on Thursday.

The port will most likely be built into an in-depth cooperation demonstration zone for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area initiative, Ren noted.

Operation of a high-speed rail service connecting Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2018, the Shenzhen Economic Daily reported Thursday.

The plan for the development of a city cluster in the greater bay area, covering the majority of China's Cantonese-speaking regions, was forwarded to the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planner, at the end of June.

Nansha already has a free trade zone and the port is Guangzhou's only gateway to the sea, a regional economy expert told the Global Times Friday.

A free trade port will make shipping and port services between South China and Southeast Asia "more professional and convenient," said Ding Li, director of the regional and enterprise competitiveness research center at the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences.

"The [existing] free trade zone could not give full play to Nansha port's advantages as the scheme was too comprehensive," he said.

Shanghai also plans to turn its free trade zone into a free trade port.

The port has entered the planning stage and will be implemented after approval by central government, Shanghai Party chief Han Zheng said at the congress Thursday.

On the same day, Xiamen, a coastal city in East China's Fujian Province, is planning to upgrade its free trade zone into a free trade port, according to the China News Service, citing Pei Jinjia, the city's Party chief.

Ding noted that there is no free trade port on the Chinese mainland yet, but based on the experiences of Hong Kong, the port should exercise more freedom of trade than a free trade zone.


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