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Trade & Investment

Guangdong free-trade zone plans criticised


Guangzhou

The three experimental development zones in Guangdong have agreed to set up joint conferences to solve problems ranging from vicious competition among them to overlapping of industrial strategies, but some analysts are sceptical about the drive.

Nansha in Guangzhou, Qianhai in Shenzhen and Hengqin in Zhuhai , which have been written into China’s 12th five-year plan for 2011 to 2015 as testing grounds for new free-trade-zone plans, signed the agreement in Nansha on Monday.

They plan on strengthening communication on industrial strategies, planning, economic policies and social management, The Southern Metropolis News reported yesterday.

Officials from the three zones will also meet three times a year in joint conferences to discuss important issues, the newspaper said.

Professor Zuo Liancun , who teaches at the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies and specialises in Guangdong’s economic co-operation with Hong Kong and Macau, said the agreement won’t solve core problems including vague and all-too-similar industrial blueprints and he urged authorities to think realistically about potential economic achievements.

“It’s meaningless for the three experimental zones to talk about co-operation without [the involvement of] decision-makers from either Beijing or the provincial government,” he said, “because all three regard Hong Kong and Macau as strategic partners, and they all want to boost their financial industries.”

Instead, Zuo said, Shenzhen’s authorities should increase communication with Hong Kong to determine realistic development goals for their small, 15-square-kilometre development zone, after many of Qianhai’s proposed economic reforms either stalled or were rejected by Beijing last month.

“It’s only 15 square kilometres of land, and you can’t expect it to become the world’s financial centre,” Zuo said. “Hengqin and Nansha should also slow down their pace and forget about their lofty ambitions. It’s impossible for Hengqin to compete with Shenzhen and Dongguan in terms of GDP after lagging behind in manufacturing for three decades.”

Zhou Linsheng , a researcher with the Comprehensive Reform and Development Institute in Guangdong, said the three experimental zones could find themselves in vicious competition for resources and projects in the absence of necessary co-ordination.

“For example, both Nansha and Qianhai have applied to set up a commodities futures exchange, and all the three zones are considering developing their cultural and innovation industries,” Zhou said.

While Nansha’s proposal over a commodities futures exchange is still pending, Qianhai was told by the China Securities Regulatory Commission last month that it was unlikely the State Council would approve a new exchange just months after announcing a campaign to clean up unregulated trading venues in order to prevent financial risks.

The mainland has only three commodities futures exchanges – in Shanghai, Dalian and Zhengzhou – and at least 14 other cities are vying to set up the fourth.

Zhou said the three zones should have different development strategies. “Nansha is 800 square kilometres of land close to the manufacturing hubs of Dongguan and Zhongshan , and has huge potential to develop its manufacturing, which surely won’t be included in the blueprints of Qianhai and Hengqin. Its deepwater port is also an advantage for manufacturing and shipping.”

The Pan-Pearl River Delta Regional Co-operation and Development Forum – similar to the agreement among the three experiment zones and initiated in 2003, has long been questioned for its real benefits, particularly after heralding grand plans to facilitate economic integration between Hong Kong, Macau and nine mainland provinces, including Guangdong.

Fiona Tam
South China Morning Post

About chankaiyee2

Author of the book "Tiananmen's Tremendous Achievements" about how with the help of Tiananmen Protests, talented scholars with moral integrity seized power in the Party and state and brought prosperity to China. The second edition of the book will be published within a few days to mark the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Protests All the parts in the first edition remain in the second edition with a few changes due to information available later and better understanding. There are also some changes for improvements of style. The new parts are Chapters 12-19 on events in China after the first edition was published: The fierce power struggle for succession between reformists and conservatives; Xi Jinping winning all elders’ support during his mysterious disappearance for 2 weeks in early September, 2012; and Xi Jinping Cyclone. Chan Kai Yee's new book: SPACE ERA STRATEGY: The Way China Beats The US An eye-opening book that tells the truth how the US is losing to China. The US is losing as it adopts the outdated strategy of Air-Sea Battle while China adopts the space era strategy to pursue integrated space and air capabilities: It is losing due to its diplomacy that has given rise to Russian-Chinese alliance. US outdated strategy has enabled China to catch up and surpass the US in key weapons: Hypersonic weapons (HGV) that Pentagon regards as the weapon that will dominate the world in the future. Aerospaceplane in China’s development of space-air bomber that can engage enemy anywhere in the world within an hour and destroy an entire aircraft carrier battle group within minutes. Anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, anti-ASAT weapons, stealth aircrafts, drones, AEW&C, etc. The book gives detailed descriptions of China’s weapon development based on information mainly from Chinese sources that the author monitors closely. U.S. Must Not Be Beaten by China! China is not a democracy. Its political system cannot prevent the emergence of a despotic leader or stop such a leader when he begins to bring disasters to people. A few decades ago, Mao Zedong, the worst tyrant in world history did emerge and bring disasters to Chinese people. He wanted to fight a nuclear war to replace capitalism with communism but could not bring nuclear holocaust to world people as China was too weak and poor at that time. If a despot like Mao Zedong emerges when China has surpassed the US in military strength, world people will suffer the misery experienced by Chinese people in Mao era. China surpassing the US in GDP is not something to worry about as China has the heavy burden to satisfy its huge population, but China surpassing the US in military strength will be world people’s greatest concern if China remains an autocracy. US people are of much better quality than Chinese people. What they lack is a wise leader to adopt the correct strategy and diplomacy and the creative ways to use its resources in developing its military capabilities. I hope that with the emergence of a great leader, the US can put an end to its decline and remain number one in the world. China, US, space era strategy, air-sea battle, space-air bomber, arms race, weapon development, chan kai yee

Discussion

4 thoughts on “Guangdong free-trade zone plans criticised

  1. Reblogged this on Craig Hill.

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    Posted by Craig Hill | May 11, 2012, 7:31 am

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