The Shanghai Free Trade Zone (SFTZ), was launched by the Chinese government in 2013. It combines four existing zones under a special administration of Customs.
It has also been recognised as a symbol of the need for change under China’s new leadership. China already has a few other trade zones that apply preferential policies.
However, the Chinese government tries to introduce more innovative and relaxing policies to the SFTZ. The approval process will be simplified and the entry barrier for new comers will be reduced. It is a national program as well as a reform experiment of China that could be replicated to other regions in the future.
The SFTZ is still a work in progress but many multinational organisations from various industries, such as logistics, banking, e-commerce and etc., have either established their distribution centres over there or in the process of applying.
It is time for Australian business to utilise the opportunity. Australian companies in natural resources, financial and agricultural industries will gain great benefits from the SFTZ. As an example; Westpac opened its sub-branch in SFTZ by the end of last year.