Xinjiang, 3 November 2023(TDI): In a significant and strategic move for promoting reform and opening up in the new era, on Wednesday 1 November China inaugurated its first free trade zone in Xinjiang, its northwestern border region.

The Xinjiang Pilot FTZ encompasses areas in Urumqi, Horgos, and Kashgar, with a total area spanning nearly 180 square kilometers.

Strategic significance

This new FTZ holds great promise in terms of advancing Xinjiang’s integration into the “dual circulation” of domestic and international markets, supporting the core area development of the Belt and Road Initiative, and acting as a vital conduit between Asia and Europe.

Erkin Tuniyaz, Chairman of the Xinjiang regional government, emphasized the region’s commitment to leveraging its resources, geographical advantages, and industrial foundation to construct the FTZ with high standards and quality.

He added, “The FTZ will serve as a ‘golden channel’ between Asia and Europe, and a bridgehead for China’s westward opening up.”

Furthermore, the Xinjiang FTZ is expected to offer significant investment opportunities for foreign-funded enterprises, given the region’s infrastructure development needs and its potential to make up for previous shortcomings.

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A report by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade indicates that many foreign-funded enterprises looking to increase investment in China are considering the western region.

In addition, the area also presents opportunities for infrastructure exchanges with Central Asian countries, including enhanced railway and highway multimodal transport options.

The region boasts a robust network of roads, railways, civil aviation, pipe networks, communications, and power grids, forming a well-connected “six-in-one” infrastructure network.

The Xinjiang FTZ will not only benefit the region’s industries but also foster economic growth and international cooperation in northwestern China.

With its robust infrastructure and strategic location, the Xinjiang Pilot FTZ is poised to play a pivotal role in China’s ongoing reform and opening-up efforts.