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China Focus: Policy innovation to drive China's opening up westward

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URUMQI, March 26 (Xinhua) -- New innovative policies in Xinjiang's two economic development zones will further strengthen the region's "bridgehead" position for China's opening up to Eurasian countries.

The development and reform commission of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Tuesday introduced new policies to help with the development of special economic zones in Kashgar and Horgos, two border cities along China's northwestern frontier.

The policies cover areas of administration, finance, tax, land use, industry and attracting talented professionals.

Financing difficulties in infrastructure construction and a lack of investment have troubled Kashgar and Horgos since economic zones were set up in the areas in 2010. Newly approved measures will hopefully offer solutions to breaking the shackles of the system.

The document clarifies that the two management committees of the zones are allowed to exercise administrative powers and coordinate and guide departments in the economic zones.

Preferential financial and taxation policies are also being put forward by both regional and local governments. A subsidy of 50 million yuan (about 8 million U.S. dollars) will be allocated to the two zones separately each year for infrastructure construction.

In addition, funds will be set up to support industry, motivate talents, finance scientific research and encourage entrepreneurship. The introduction of equity incentives will look to attract scientists and management professionals.

Total local incomes during the ten years starting from 2012 to 2021 will be for the two management committees to use to support construction of the economic zones and industry development.

Also, a flexible commercial land leasing policy that reduces the cost of land for industrial use will be tested.

Han Linzhi, a research fellow at the Institute of Economic Research under the region's development and reform commission, said the idea of currency swap put forward by Tuesday's document would help to reduce funding costs, fix exchange rates and therefore increase the opportunities of trade and investment settled in yuan between China and neighboring countries.

Meanwhile, new policies related to attracting talents are a major part of the document. High-end apartments, financial incentives and more favorable policies will be implemented to help key institutions and companies attract talented and skilled personnel.

New regulations on entry and exit procedures will be streamlined, according to the document.

Bordering on five Central Asian countries including Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and India, Kashgar boasts five national ports that allow both Chinese and foreign personnel, commodity and vehicles to leave and enter China.

As China's westernmost end of the Euro-Asia continental bridge, Horgos with its open port that features integrated transportation of railway and highway faces densely populated areas and market centers in Central Asia.

"The regional government has set the goal to turn Xinjiang into an important platform for the allocation of resources and a regional capital market center in Central Asia, which means a lot to the development of the Silk Road economic belt," Han said.

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