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Pilot reform measures set to cover full FTZ

2014-04-23 09:26 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Si Huan

After being tested on a select group of companies, a batch of measures aimed at simplifying the customs clearance process and boosting trade in services will be expanded to the whole Shanghai pilot free trade zone next month, the city's customs authorities said Tuesday.

Seven pilot measures that have proved effective in boosting trade facilitation will be applied to all qualified enterprises based in the zone from May 1, Zhang Hualu, deputy head of Shanghai Customs, said at a media conference.

Seven more steps will be rolled out gradually before June 30 to further cut clearance costs and improve efficiency of the customs process, Zhang revealed.

The measures include allowing goods to enter the zone before going through customs declaration procedures, enabling companies to transport goods within the FTZ with their own registered vehicles and allowing zone-based companies to offer maintenance services to overseas customers.

FTZ enterprises will also be allowed to display bonded goods outside the zone and make payment of duty after the goods are sold. That will streamline the import process and bring down retail prices of products by 20-30 percent.

Also, a pilot program allowing bonded warehouses to provide delivery services for futures trading will be expanded to all FTZ areas and all products on the Shanghai Futures Exchange. Currently, only copper and aluminum at two warehouses at Yangshan port can be delivered against futures contracts.

Since the zone was inaugurated at the end of September, these measures have produced positive results, helping reduce clearance time by two to three days and cutting logistics costs by an average 10 percent, according to the customs.

Zhang said the measures will be promoted to other areas nationwide when they are fully developed.

Meanwhile, Shanghai Securities News reported yesterday, citing unnamed sources, that land for industrial use in the zone will be allowed to be converted into land with comprehensive functions that can be used for industries, commercial properties and office buildings.

Dai Haibo, deputy director of the FTZ's administrative committee, said the regulator will improve land planning to better adapt to the development of the service sector in the zone.

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