Photo taken in May, 2006, shows a 300,000 ton-class oil tanker anchored at Yangpu Port in south China's Hainan Province. China's State Council has approved the establishment of the Yangpu Bonded Port Area, the fourth of its kind in China, in the island province of Hainan, said the Hainan Provincial Government Thursday. (Xinhua Photo)
Photo taken in August, 2006, shows a 300,000 ton-class oil tanker being piloted into Yangpu Port in south China's Hainan Province. China's State Council has approved the establishment of the Yangpu Bonded Port Area, the fourth of its kind in China, in the island province of Hainan, said the Hainan Provincial Government Thursday.(Xinhua Photo)
HAIKOU, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government
has approved plans for the country's fourth harbor area with preferential tax
rates in a major step towards a free trade zone with the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The State Council authorized the Yangpu Bonded Harbor
Area in the Yangpu Economic Development Zone, south China's Hainan Province,
covering 9.21 sq km and to be completed in three stages.
The first phase of construction had already started,
said Hainan Vice Governor Jiang Sixian.
Fifty billion yuan will be spent on construction and
the area will host industries with a total output value of 100 billion yuan,
generating 12 billion yuan in taxes annually by 2012.
Three other bonded harbor areas are located in
Yangshan of Shanghai, Dongjiang of Tianjin and Dayaowan of Dalian, Liaoning
Yangpu Economic Development Zone is on the 150-sq-km
Yangpu Peninsula in northwestern Hainan, 40 km north of the provincial capital,
Haikou, and covers 30 sq. km..
Established in 1992, the zone was originally planned
as an export-oriented industrial district focusing on advanced technology and
the development of tertiary industry.
The 1997 Asian financial crisis, however, had a
negative impact on Yangpu from which it never fully recovered.
To attract overseas investors, the Yangpu Economic
Development Zone has been allowed to apply preferential policies.
Li Lanxue, chief of Haikou Customs, said the Yangpu
Bonded Harbor Area would offer tax breaks on imports, and rebates on China-made
commodities, while trade between companies inside the harbor area would be
exempt from value added and consumption taxes, in addition to preferential
policies granted to Yangpu Economic Development Zone.
The establishment of the Yangpu Bonded Harbor Area
was important to regional economic development and energy strategies, said Jiang
Sixian. "This will help to advance economic development of this province and of
the Beibu Gulf between Hainan and ASEAN member states."
Yangpu bonded harbor area bordered the ASEAN trading
zone, close to key international shipping routes, and had a deep-water shoreline
of more than 50 km where 80 berths with dead-weight-tonnages of up to 300,000
tons could be built, said Jiang.
It would be the closest industrial base to the oil
and gas resources in the South China Sea.
"Yangpu bonded harbor area will be built into the
most open shipping center on the Beibu Gulf, and a logistics center for bonded
and transit services in petroleum, gas, raw materials for the chemical industry,
pulp, paper products," said Jiang.
"Yangpu bonded harbor area, now a large petrochemical
production base, will become an important international base for processing and
export of petrochemical commodities," Jiang added.
China and ASEAN are seeking to establish a free trade
area by 2010.
Since July 2005, China, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia,
Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand have cut tariffs on more than 7,000 items in
compliance with the Trade in Goods Agreement of a Framework Agreement for
Overall Economic Cooperation between China and the ten ASEAN member states.
By 2010, China and Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the
Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, will impose zero tariffs on most products,
while China and the four newer ASEAN members of Cambodia, the Laos, Myanmar and
Vietnam will do the same in 2015.
The China-ASEAN free trade area has a population of 1.8 billion and two trillion U.S. dollars in gross domestic product (GDP). It will become the third largest global trading region after the European Union and the North America Free Trade Zone. (One US dollar equals to 7.51 yuan)