Eastern Chinese province banks on FTZ to boost trade in Northeast Asian region.
Ships get ready for their voyages in the foreign trade container terminal of Qingdao port in Shandong province. (Photo: China Daily)
Shandong province is expected to be a new powerhouse in the Northeast Asian region, with the eastern Chinese province leading the way in high-quality opening-up, experts said at a high-end forum.
Evidence that the province will be an important conduit in China's economic growth became evident after the China (Shandong) Pilot Free Trade Zone was set up as one of the six new FTZs in the country in late August.
Shandong, birthplace of Confucius, is an important economic powerhouse in the coastal areas, with a GDP surpassing 4 trillion yuan ($560 billion) in the first half of this year. It was ranked third after Guangdong and Jiangsu provinces. However, the province has faced a problem with lagging economic drive.
Zhao Zhongxiu, president of the Shandong University of Finance and Economics, said the FTZ in Shandong should focus on institutional innovation and find a unique way of high-quality economic growth, with its optimized geographic position and abundant resources.
"The province should take the free trade zone opportunity to become more involved in the China-Japan-South Korea regional economic cooperation, as well as the Belt and Road Initiative, and play a bigger role in improving exchanges of capital, technology, talent and information between east and west," said Zhao on the sidelines of the High-Level Forum of Shandong Pilot Free Trade Zone Development Strategy on Oct 17 in Qingdao, a coastal city in Shandong.
The forum invited officials and scholars from across the country to discuss how to build high-quality pilot trade zones.