China free trade zone opens
SHANGHAI: China launched a free trade zone in its commercial hub Shanghai yesterday, with the project seen as a testing ground for much-needed reforms in the country.
The zone, which covers 29 sq km, "started operating Sunday", the official Xinhua news agency said, adding that it was "a test bed for the Chinese leadership's drive of deepening market-oriented reforms and boosting economic vigour".
Free convertibility of China's currency, the yuan, under the capital account on a trial basis will be allowed in the zone, according to a statement released by China's State Council cabinet on Friday.
The zone will also trial market-set interest rates, seen by analysts as a key reform for China's economy.
Restrictions on foreign investment will be eased inside the zone, which will also loosen controls on 18 service sectors ranging from finance and shipping to culture services. AFP