Vietnamese and foreign experts gathered at a seminar in Hanoi on June 10 to share their experience in developing free trade zones (FTZs) and special economic zones (SEZs).

Themed “Free Trade Zones: International Experience and Local Development”, the seminar was jointly held by the World Bank (WB), the Asia-Pacific Development Centre (AFDC) and the Korean Development Institute (KDI).

According to experts, as economies become more globalised, developing markets, which account for over 40 percent of global trade, play an increasingly important role.

Since the 1997 financial crisis, the global economic and trade pattern has been readjusted, and the new rules of global trade have placed more emphasis on liberalisation in business operations, investment and services and fair competition and protection of rights and interests.

Sharing experience from the Republic of Korea, Prof. Sherzod Shadikhodjaev of the KDI’s School of Public Policy and Management said that the RoK set up free export zones many decades ago and renamed them free trade and free economic zones in the early 2000s.

The SEZs not only provide financial support but also improve the business environment for foreign investors, while raising living conditions for foreign workers, he said.

Chen Bo, General Secretary of the Free Trade Zone Research Centre under the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, said that China has approved a master plan on a pilot FTZ in Shanghai . Accordingly, the zone covers a total area of 28.78, including the Yangshan deepwater port, Pudong airport and the Waigaoqiao duty-free area.

In recent years, China has witnessed rapid growth in foreign trade, but like other developing countries, it lacks diversity in its foreign trade structure and has received a limited share in global value chains.

Therefore, China ’s top priority is to enhance its level of investment liberalisation so as to further integrate into the world economy and contribute to its economic and structural transformation and upgrading, he added.

Despite appreciating the role of FTZs or SEZs, foreign experts warned that the developing economies will face great challenges in establishing reasonable trade and economic policies to boost their local markets.-VNA