China has unveiled plans to build an internationally recognised free trade port on the island of Hainan by the middle of the century as the country looks to strengthen its grip on the global economy.
In a statement, the Chinese government said its goal is to build a “free trade port system focusing on trade and investment liberalisation” as the first phase, to be concluded by 2025.
Authorities want to make Hainan, already a major economic zone, the front line of China’s integration into the global economic system.
This includes the country’s ‘New Silk Road’, a $1 trillion plan to revolutionise the global economy with ports, roads, rail links and exponential technology.
The development of Hainan will also increase connectivity between China and its neighbours in Southeast Asia.
China already dominates the port industry and, with seven of the ten biggest ports in the world, as well as the biggest terminal operator, can be considered the most powerful country in the maritime industry.
Furthermore, to its south, just beyond Hainan, are some of the fastest growing trade hubs in the world, including Singapore and Malaysia, both of which are critical to the flow of goods regionally and globally.
Building the Hainan free trade port is “of vital importance for pursuing an open economy, deepening market-based reform and improving the business environment”, the government said.
Additionally, it will make it “a strategic choice for advancing high-quality development and concrete action to support economic globalization and building a community of shared future for the humanity”.