China has approved the establishment of its 12th Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in the southern island province of Hainan, demonstrating its unshakable faith in pushing ahead reform and opening-up.
Five years on, from tourism to agriculture, from technology to daily necessities and from costal cities to inland areas, the FTZs have offered the nation copious advances in institutional explorations.
The following dates are major milestones in the development of China's FTZs in the past five years:
-- Sept. 29, 2013: China established its first pilot FTZ in Shanghai, the country's financial hub.
-- Sept. 30, 2013: China first piloted a "negative list" in the Shanghai FTZ with 190 items on it.
-- Nov. 22, 2013: The Shanghai International Energy Exchange was unveiled in the Shanghai FTZ, a key step toward the launch of China's own crude oil futures.
-- March 4, 2015: The Shanghai Petroleum and Natural Gas Exchange, a jointly funded platform to prompt oil and gas reform and enhance China's pricing power, was registered within the Shanghai FTZ.
-- April 21, 2015: China expanded the pilot FTZ practice to three other coastal provincial-level regions: Tianjin, Guangdong and Fujian.
-- April 27, 2015: The Shanghai FTZ was enlarged to cover the city's commercial and financial center Lujiazui and the districts of Jinqiao and Zhangjiang.
-- Aug. 31, 2016: China's Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua that the government has approved the establishment of new pilot FTZs in Liaoning, Zhejiang, Henan, Hubei, Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces as well as Chongqing municipality.
-- April 1, 2017: New pilot FTZs were launched in Liaoning, Zhejiang, Henan, Hubei, Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces as well as Chongqing municipality.
-- March 26, 2018: China launched the trading of yuan-denominated crude oil futures on the Shanghai International Energy Exchange in the Shanghai FTZ, the first futures variety on the Chinese mainland to open to overseas investment.
-- June 30, 2018: China unveiled a new negative list for foreign investment in the pilot FTZs, with the number of items down from 95 to 45 compared to the previous year.
-- Oct. 10, 2018: The Shanghai FTZ issued the country's first negative list in the service trade field.
-- Oct. 16, 2018: China rolled out a plan for establishing Hainan as a pilot FTZ, the 12th and largest among its peers.
-- Oct. 24, 2018: In an instruction on the development of pilot FTZs, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for building the country's pilot FTZs toward new heights of reform and opening-up in the new era.
-- Nov. 5, 2018: When delivering a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Xi announced the Shanghai FTZ would expand to include a new section.
"[We] will encourage and support bold and creative steps by Shanghai to advance investment and trade liberalization and facilitation so that more of its successful practices may be replicated in other parts of China," Xi said in the keynote speech.