A disappointing first year for Shanghai’s much-hyped free-trade zone, seen as a pet project of Premier Li Keqiang and billed as a reform laboratory, raises questions about China’s commitment to opening up its markets as it wrestles with a slowing economy.
The 29 square kilometer zone on the outskirts of China’s commercial capital – hailed as Beijing’s boldest reform in decades – was meant to test changes such as currency liberalization, market-determined interest rates and free trade.
But progress has been slow and policies vague as the political focus has turned from reform to shoring up growth, leaving foreign companies unsure of investing in the free-trade zone (FTZ).
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