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Free trade port innovates to open up in new era

By SONG MENGXING | China Daily | Updated: 2023-03-30

Island province of Hainan, South China, adopts dynamic practices to reinvigorate its institutions

Hainan, the southernmost island province in China, has made great progress in developing its free trade port into a model of opening-up in the new era.

The port, set up across the entire island, released six cases of institutional innovation in late December and 134 such cases in total had been issued by that time.

It established a standardized system for cases concerning civil servants on July 31, 2021. The cases involve administrative fault tolerance and correction, clarifying false complaints, investigations and the re-employment of public servants who were punished.

Hainan is in a period of building a free trade port with Chinese characteristics and needs workers to innovate and work hard. It is necessary to improve this mechanism to encourage them to assume and fulfill the responsibilities.

The mechanism should also encourage them not to follow the beaten track, not to worry about making mistakes and to contribute to the development of the port. It is innovative in that it integrates different systems that encourage civil servants to shoulder responsibilities, which solve the fragmentation of carrying out such systems.

Provincial-level authorities highlight typical cases, such as fault tolerance and correction cases, regularly across the island to make officials at other levels pay attention to the system.

Typical cases have also been analyzed and commented on and can thus be used to guide related authorities to deal with other cases.

The port has created an "online plus offline" mode for data transaction. It has founded a provincial data development and utilization platform and another for incubation of the big data industry.

Its usage and transaction system of public data delimits the development of such data, authorization procedures and trade process and enhances the life cycle management of the data.

The system clarifies data management responsibilities, standardizes data product development and ensures related goods and services are safe and manageable.

The Hainan data "supermarket "offers an online platform and a physical store for learning about and trying related services. It has convinced more than 500 big data companies to join and covers 23 fields such as scientific and technological innovation, finance and legal services.

Hainan also took measures to improve its business environment, which it regards as a competitive edge for building the free trade port.

The Hainan business environment development department was set up in Haikou, capital of the province, in December. A white paper was released recently to showcase how Hainan improved its business environment and what it had achieved in the past year. It said the province has reformed things such as governmental services, trade and investment as well as the legal environment.

Hainan issued more than 40 regulations and policies related to the business environment. It has implemented ordinances of promoting and protecting fair competition and also guaranteeing rights of operators and consumers since Jan 1, 2022.

The province has started to promote model cities, counties and industrial parks with a good business environment. It has drawn up 50 detailed points to help to create a first-rate business environment.

According the overall plan for building the free trade port, Hainan will launch independent customs clearance operation by 2025. Related preparation work was started in 2022. The port's focus will soon be shifted to stress testing of policies and systems related to operations.

It hopes to complete infrastructure that meets requirements for the operations late this year and finish all preparation work by the end of 2024.

Feng Fei, Party secretary of Hainan, said the province will participate in the Belt and Road Initiative and will take advantage of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the free trade port's policies in the next five years.

It will pilot internationally high-level economic and trade rules, such as the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement, to advance the business environment.

Environmental protection and improvement also progressed in Hainan in the past five years, Feng said. The National Park of Hainan Tropical Rainforest is among the first five national parks created in October 2021.

The province's ratio of new energy vehicles is much higher than the country's average. Its PM2.5 density — a major gauge of air pollution — has decreased to 12 micrograms per cubic meter. Meanwhile, the water quality in shore areas is good.

Hainan will continue to build the rainforest park and enhance biodiversity protection in the next five years, Feng said. He added that it also plans to contribute much to the country's carbon peaking and neutrality goals.

The province will promote the development of the international blue carbon research center and the center for trading carbon emission rights, and implement model projects involving things such as a regional forestry sink experiment.

The province hopes to finish the first stage of demarcating the rainforest park and setting boundary markers, and excel in promoting the use of NEVs and prefabricated buildings this year.

It will further supervise e-commerce platforms, ports and docks to avoid using non-biodegradable plastic products. The province officially carried out regulations on forbidding such plastics on Dec 1, 2020.

Actions for improving the bay environment and ecology will be launched this year when the treatment for atmospheric pollution will be carried out.


The container wharf at the Haikou Port is active on March 10. SU BIKUN/FOR CHINA DAILY