Free trade zones partnership boosts global cooperation |
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Free trade zones partnership boosts global cooperation

  • By Chen Bowen in Boao, Hainan |
  • China Daily |
  • Updated: May 29, 2024
The Global Free Trade Ports Development Forum is held in Hainan province on March 27, 2024. [Photo/]

Panelists at the Global Free Trade Ports Development Forum said on Wednesday that they have confidence in the collaborative potential of the world's free trade zones and ports.

"We hope that the free trade zones and ports all over the world can harness their distinct geographical, industrial and resource advantages to establish a unified, open and cooperative framework — ultimately advancing the global free trade zones partnership initiative to greater openness and inclusivity," Liu Xiaoming, the governor of South China's Hainan province, said in a speech at the forum in Boao, Hainan.

Part of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2024, the free trade ports forum, with the theme "Partnership, Opening-up, Cooperation", encapsulated the aspiration to seek partnerships, cultivate open market environments and foster win-win cooperation, Liu said.

The Hainan Free Trade Port joined 19 pilot free trade zones on the Chinese mainland and six overseas free trade zones in March last year to launch an initiative calling for partnerships between free trade zones around the world.

"In the past year, the principles of openness, inclusiveness and friendly cooperation have been our guiding light, as we have expanded the scope and depth of our initiatives, actively seeking new opportunities for cooperation and collaboration in novel environments and sectors," Liu said.

The initiative has drawn in 32 free trade zones, including 11 from overseas.

By collaborating with its partners, Hainan aims to leverage its distinctive regional industries and resource strengths.

"Together, we aim to elevate the levels of trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, champion global openness and cooperation, and foster two-way trade and investment as well as project collaboration possibilities," Liu said. "Our shared objective is to harness complementary advantages, pursue mutually beneficial and win-win development, and propel regional economic integration."

Jeju Island, a top destination for tourists visiting South Korea and the country's first autonomous province, has emerged as a trailblazer in the realm of clean energy initiatives.

Since 2008, Jeju's provincial government has been dedicated to its "Carbon Free Island 2030" project, which aims to completely shift the island's vehicles and electricity generation to renewable energy sources by 2030.

Last year, Jeju Island became the first region in South Korea to develop green hydrogen energy, and it is pioneering the use of green hydrogen energy in public buses, its governor, Oh Young-hun, said.

"Jeju also plans to exclusively utilize green hydrogen energy for residential areas," he said. "The island's renewable energy penetration rate now is 19.2 percent, the highest in South Korea."

Oh said that by forging partnerships and sharing knowledge with Hainan, another clean energy island, both sides can strengthen efforts toward a sustainable future.

Eugene Gan, CEO of Changi Airports International, Singapore, said: "As China's southernmost province, Hainan's strategic location and unique attributes have laid the foundation for a burgeoning civil aviation industry."

In recent years, he said, the industry has emerged as a key driver of Hainan's thriving tourism sector and acted as a catalyst for the province's foreign trade growth.

Gan said the cooperation between Changi Airports International and Hainan Airport Group since April last year has been a pivotal step toward fortifying the partnership between Singapore and Hainan.

To unlock Hainan's full potential and establish itself as a pivotal player in the global aviation landscape, Gan urged the province to develop a more open and liberal civil aviation development policy, with expanded traffic rights.

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