On January 30th Ms Alice Cawte, Australia’s Consul-General in Shanghai (with responsibility for Shanghai Municipality, Jiangsu, Zheijiang, Anhui, Jiangxi and Hubei), presented a business briefing on developments in her areas of responsibility including the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) newly established on September 29, 2013. Ms Cawte gave a comprehensive overview of the free-trade zone observing that its introduction is as significant as the establishment of China’s first special economic zone in Shenzhen in 1980.
Whilst the new Shanghai FTZ is only 28 square kilometres, in this case size is not an impediment. The financial reforms and economic experimentation that are undertaken in the FTZ are expected to serve as a testing ground before reforms are rolled out elsewhere in China. The goals of the FTZ are to upgrade financial services, promote trade and improve governance. Of great interest to the audience of course is that there are measures to encourage foreign investment in 18 sectors in the country’s service industry. Rules in the zone will be introduced over a three year period and as such are still quite fluid. Ms Cawte is continuing to liaise with the Shanghai Municipal Government re rule changes and future opportunities for Australian businesses within the zone. The event was well attended by industry with many keen to clarify details about how to become a part of this new FTZ. The event was organized by the SA Office, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australia China Business Council (SA Chapter).
The members of ACFDA attending the event included Secretary-General Dr. Adrienne Petty, Culture Adviser Peter Mermingis, Senior Member Mark Golsby and Secretary Mandy Xing.