China's State Council has reportedly supported plans to further the liberalization of the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone, to support the Mainland's ongoing Belt and Road initiative.
Announced in 2013, the Belt and Road initiative is intended to support China's efforts to increase its involvement in global trade flows. It is intended to better connect 60 countries with China, either by land or sea. By 2050, the aim is that the Belt and Road region will account for 80 percent of global GDP growth, and advance three billion more people into the "middle class."
According to a statement from the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone, the plan for the period to 2020 recently approved by the State Council calls on it to adopt business-friendly, transparent, and innovative policies so that the zone can "be a bridgehead for the Belt and Road initiative and help domestic firms channel investment overseas."
"The next phase in the FTZ['s] development will also include offshore tax arrangements and allocating resources to serve the Belt and Road strategy," the zone said.
The Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone was created in 2013 and offers companies a number of tax preferences. It comprises a bonded area, high-tech park, financial area, and an export processing zone.