Shanghai on Tuesday issued a wide-ranging action plan to implement the high-level opening-up of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ), with a focus on facilitating cross-border data transfers.
The move came after the State Council, the cabinet, in December approved a general plan for advancing the institutional opening-up of the Shanghai FTZ in alignment with high-standard international economic and trade rules.
According to the action plan on Tuesday, the Shanghai FTZ aims to achieve an international first-class level in trade and investment facilitation, align with international practices in terms of digital economy rules, and enhance its regulatory and risk prevention capabilities that match the opening economy in three years.
The 117-point plan covers eight areas and puts forth detailed measures to expand services trade opening-up, improve trade facilitation for goods and adapt to high-standard digital trade rules.
As a highlight, the plan allows financial institutions to transfer data necessary for daily operation under the framework of a national security management system for cross-border data transfer.
It requires financial institutions to carry out data classification, security assessment and personal information protection certification to safeguard the security of important data and personal information.
Facilitating cross-border data transfers in the financial area is conducive to attracting international capital to the Chinese market. It will elevate Shanghai's status as an international financial center and provide strong support and examples for high-level institutional opening-up at the national level, Wang Peng, an associate researcher at the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
The plan also stressed the need to compile a catalog of important data, release typical scenarios and explore a safe and convenient way to facilitate cross-border data flows.
China's Ministry of Commerce said at a press conference on Monday that China has formulated a regulation on standardizing and promoting cross-border data flows and is studying and improving it in preparation for implementation.
"It is expected that these measures can help China align with international high-standard trade and economic rules, particularly in the digital economy and financial sector," Wang said.
The plan also emphasizes promoting digital yuan trials and expanding usage scenarios, and deepening the use of the digital yuan in trade settlements, supermarkets, tourism and e-commerce platforms.
In terms of digital technology, the Shanghai FTZ will improve the mechanism for foreign-funded enterprises to participate in artificial intelligence innovation cooperation and innovative drug research and development.
The plan also includes road testing of highly automated driving vehicles on highways and elevated roads and accelerating the commercial application of connected vehicles.