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This week marks five years since the start of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, a revolutionary plan to transform the way China does business. Who would have predicted, five years ago, that China would today be in the midst of a murky trade war; that tit-for-tat tarrifs would be hurled across the ocean from the United States on an almost weekly basis; that the very founding tenets of a free-trade zone – globalization – would be pitted against protectionism, in what some are beginning to call the new Cold War.
How has the Shanghai Free Trade Zone fared against this economic warfare? Has it weathered the storm? And can Free Trade Zones come up with ideas that matter enough to reform China’s economy and perhaps more importantly, dampen down the fire between Washington and Beijing?