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An official with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Tuesday said China’s special economic zones (SEZs) and free trade zones are conducive to sustainable growth. Beate Trankmann, resident representative of UNDP China, made the remarks at a forum held on the sidelines of the ongoing China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS).
A sustainable future calls for massive investments of 5 to 7 trillion U.S. dollars per year, mostly in developing countries, which can only be achieved through improved government policies that in turn incentivize the private sector to raise its contributions, she said. “Special economic and free trade zones, for example, can be important drivers for such sustainable investments,” said Trankmann. “SEZs catalyzed China’s rapid transformation.”
According to Trankmann, China has also been building overseas economic and trade cooperation zones since the late 1990s, sharing its experience and facilitating economic cooperation with other countries. Such zones have generated 40 billion U.S. dollars in investment, paying 3 billion dollars in taxes in host countries and creating 300,000 jobs, said Trankmann, citing data from China’s Ministry of Commerce.
Trankmann said that when guided by sustainability and supported by conducive policies, trade and trade zones can be key platforms for sustainable investment and advance the sustainable growth goals globally.
“By driving sustainability and creating jobs, they can help to reduce poverty and inequality. They can improve resource efficiency and reduce business risks, giving companies more incentives to try new green growth models,” she added. “COVID-19 has left countries in crisis,” Trankmann said. “As we slowly recover from this devastating virus, more than ever, we need growth that includes everyone.”
The forum on further opening up the service sector and inbound and outbound trade was co-hosted by the Beijing Municipal Commerce Bureau and the Center for China and Globalization, a Chinese think tank.
Themed “Global Services, Shared Prosperity,” the CIFTIS runs from Sept. 4 to 9 and has attracted about 100,000 attendees, with 18,000 enterprises and institutions from 148 countries and regions taking part.