Beijing held a special press conference on trade and investment facilitation of the "two zones" initiative on the morning of September 29. Liu Meiying, full-time deputy director-general of the Office of Beijing Leading Group for the "Two Zones" Development, said at the press conference that in the past two years, the Office has completed all the tasks listed in the "two zones" development plan approved by the State Council, implemented nearly 70 ground-breaking policies, and launched more than 140 landmark projects and functional platforms. Driven by the "two zones" policies, from January to August this year, Beijing's foreign investment disbursed reached USD 15.24 billion, with a year-on-year growth of 37.9%. Of which, the paid-in investment in the service industry accounted for more than 90 percent.
Over the past two years, new institutions have been established in advancing the "two zones" initiative. At the macro level, Beijing has been aligning its rules with rules of high-standard international trade and working on the new policies for the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA). An action plan for the high-standard development of the "two zones" was formulated and issued to seize the opportunity of RCEP and strengthen trade ties with RCEP member states. At the meso level, 10 special reform action plans have been issued in areas such as scientific and technological innovation, digital economy, and biomedicine, with focus on opening up the entire industry chain of key sectors and reforming all links of key production factors. At the micro level, the city has carried out reforms in minor issues. It has organized meetings to work on key issues arising in the development of new business models and forms, and in niche industries such as offshore trade, cultural trade, and beauty and health, removing barriers in policies to steadily advance the reform.
The mechanism for ensuring the "two zones" development has been strengthened. By formulating and implementing the Regulation on China (Beijing) Pilot Free Trade Zone and the Decision on Promoting the Development of the National Integrated Demonstration Zone for Greater Openness in the Service Sector, Beijing has provided basic support for aligning the institutions of "two zones" with international standards. At the same time, key industrial parks have become more standardized by improving the systems for services, investment promotion, and evaluation, and their images have been upgraded. Beijing has also promoted the regional coordination of opening up and innovation by establishing cooperation mechanisms that are developed, promoted, and shared by provinces and cities that pursue opening up, contributing to the overall opening up of the country.
According to Liu Meiying, in the past two years, the "two zones" policies have achieved greater results in implementation.
In terms of attracting talent, the Catalog of Overseas Professional Qualifications Recognized by Beijing (Edition 2.0) was issued, adding more overseas professional qualifications that are urgently needed for developing the "two zones" and could help ease the talent shortage. More targeted talent support measures have been in place to make the services more accessible.
As for green finance, the Beijing Environment Exchange has been upgraded to a national-level green exchange that is open to the global market. The development of the cap-and-trade market for carbon emissions and the trading market for environmental rights and interests have stepped up, with a turnover exceeding CNY 3 billion.
The protection for intellectual property rights has opened wider to foreign market players, as foreign patent agencies are allowed to set up resident representative offices and foreigners are allowed to take the patent agent qualification examination in Beijing.
A total of 28 facilitation policies have been introduced in cross-border trade. Fast-track channels were opened for imported products qualified for CCC Waiver. The practice that exempts consignees or shippers from on-site inspection in customs clearance has been applied widely.
In the field of digital economy, Beijing International Data Exchange has been upgraded, and its data assets registration center, the first of its kind in China, was established to evaluate data assets.
On biomedicine, the categories of pilot drugs imported through cross-border e-commerce platforms have increased to 66, and the number of pilot enterprises has grown to six.
Liu added that to advance the "two zones" initiative, Beijing will continue to align its rules with high-standard international trade rules, work on a new round of institutional innovations, and attach great importance to feedback from market entities to see that the "two zones" policies are well implemented to ensure steady and sustained progress in the city's reform and opening up efforts.
(Reporter: Ma Jing)