Chinese Premier's Free-Trade Zone Dream Faces Fierce Opposition

China's financial industry regulators are not supporting Premier Li Keqiang's landmark plan for a free-trade zone in Shanghai, reveals an exclusive article by the South China Morning Post.


The newspaper reports that financial industry regulators, including the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) and China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), are not backing Li's plan to allow foreign investors to easily enter the country's financial services sector.


Under the plan, international banks keen to secure a foothold in China will  be allowed to directly and easily set up wholly owned subsidiaries in Shanghai, but only in a new free-trade zone in the Pudong New Area.


According to the Post, Li, China's second most powerful man after the president, slammed his fist on the table in frustration during a closed-door cabinet session.


In China, it is rare for regulators to team up and fight a premier, says the Post.


"He has had to fight a lot on this," said one of the Post's sources. "Li Keqiang is now definitely very keen to make the Shanghai plan a major achievement for his follow-up economic reforms."


Li began pushing the idea of a free-trade zone in Shanghai following a trip to the city in March this year.



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