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October 13, 2013

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Free trade zone gets a think-tank

A RESEARCH institute was launched yesterday to provide snappy solutions to urgent problems policy-makers may encounter in Shanghai’s pilot free trade zone.

The Free Trade Zone Institute at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics includes experts in public policy, marketing, finance and law.

Officials said it will serve as a think-tank for the 28-square-kilometer zone in the Pudong New Area that opened at the end of last month.

The zone is an experiment of exploring new methods and innovative systems for reforming China’s economy.

“I hope the institute will not only carry out regular research based on the general plan but, more importantly, offer explicit and feasible solutions for practical and urgent problems we may meet in the future,” said Li Zhaojie, deputy director of the zone’s management committee.

“Ideally, the institute should be able to respond to our needs within a week or two with clear terms and methods,” Li said.

Zhao Xiaolei, director of the institute, said research will cover both practical and academic issues, with a focus on policy-oriented innovation and reform.

“We will provide operational plans and international practices for officials,” Zhao said.

“We will also study how the free trade zone can set off the next wave of China’s economy reform.”

At the launch, academics from the institute gave presentations on initial findings of research in the zone.

Hu Yijian, professor of the school of public economics and administration of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, said tax incentive policies there are not as attractive as expected.

“Disclosed tax policies are mostly existing policies in Shanghai and other cities. There aren’t new privileges,” Hu said.

Hu said policies are more aimed at removing tax obstacles to open up international trade and investment.

Meanwhile, Zheng Shaohua, a law professor with Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, said laws and regulations in the zone need clarifying for judges.


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