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China announces free trade parks in 3 cities

China announces free trade parks in 3 cities China today announced three free trade parks in addition to the facility in Shanghai as part of new reforms to halt the slowdown of the world’s second largest economy and to spur growth.

China will establish three free trade parks in Guangdong, Fujian and Tianjin, state-run Xinhua news agency reported quoting an announcement by the central cabinet.

The announcement came after the Chinese leadership held a key economic meeting admitting big “downward pressures” on the economy and promised to deepen reforms in nine areas including capital markets and market access for private banks to boost growth.

The economy still faces many challenges and “relatively big” downward pressures such as increasing difficulties for businesses and the emergence of economic risks, a statement issued at the end of the three day Central Economic Work Conference (CEWC) which ended yesterday said.

The economy will actively adapt to the economic “new normal” of slower speed but higher quality, it said.

About concerns that Chinese economy for the first time in the recent part would miss the 7.5 per cent growth target, it said China could deliver its social and economic goals for 2014 “relatively well”, with the economy staying within a reasonable range.

The meeting came amid a string of weak economic data which stoked speculation that China may miss annual growth target.

Last year China launched the Shanghai pilot free trade zone (FTZ), a part of its new set of fiscal reforms to halt the economic slowdown.

It was the first FTZ started after the Shenzhen SEZ was launched 34 years ago which was considered to be a successful experiment to initiate new set of reforms.

Billed as a “test bed” for the Chinese leadership’s drive of deepening market-oriented reforms and boosting economic vigour, the Shanghai FTZ built close to Hong Kong was designed to be an international trade and financial centre with free exchange of currencies.

The CEWC meet yesterday said that China will accelerate reform in nine areas next year including the capital market and market access for private banks.

Reform will be speeded up in administrative approval, investment, pricing, monopolies, franchising, government purchased services, and outbound investment.

China will continue targeted and structured control policies to maintain medium- and high-speed growth for the economy.