Sun, Aug 24, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Legislators outline goals of Shanghai trade zone visit

MARKET MODEL:Beijing launched a free-trade zone in the megacity to test its policies; now a bipartisan legislative team wants to take a peek, too

Staff writer, with CNA

A Legislative Yuan delegation is to visit the Shanghai free-trade zone next month to gain a better understanding of the operations of the Chinese special trade area, lawmakers said yesterday.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) and Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) are organizing a delegation to visit Shanghai from Sept. 3 to Sept. 5, with the free-trade zone one of the stops on its itinerary.

China opened the Shanghai zone in September last year as a test model for future market-opening reforms.

Several Chinese cities and provinces, such as Tianjin and Guangdong, have lobbied Beijing authorities to allow them to set up similar free-trade areas.

There were originally 190 sectors in China in which foreign investors faced restrictions, but that number was reduced to 139 on July 1, when some barriers on foreign investment in the financial services and real-estate sectors were lifted, among others.

Sources from Lai’s office said the visit is aimed at learning about the development of the pilot free-trade policy in China. The delegation is also to survey Taiwanese financial institutions operating in the city, the sources said.

As of the end of June, Taiwanese financial institutions had set up about 40 outlets in Shanghai, according to the Shanghai Municipal Government.

Increasingly, domestic financial institutions are eager to establish footholds in Shanghai to serve the many Taiwanese manufacturers there amid warming business ties across the Taiwan Strait, according to government sources and business leaders.

Lee said the legislative delegation wants to get a better sense of how Taiwanese banks with branches in Shanghai are conducting yuan-denominated businesses there.

Lee added that the legislators are also eager to know whether Taiwanese investors operating in the city have obtained footing equal to that of their Chinese counterparts.

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