China Customs has said the total value of imports and exports in its specially-supervised areas, mainly bonded zones, were up 17 percent year-on-year to almost 300 billion U.S. dollars in 2008.
Exports grew 21.7 percent to 152.6 billion U.S. dollars and imports rose 12.2 percent to 146.9 billion U.S. dollars.
The total value of imports and exports in these special areas accounted for 28 percent of the country's processing trade volume last year, according to the Customs figure.
The government established Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone, the first zone under special supervision of the Customs, in 1990. To date, China has 94 zones of this kind, including bonded processing and logistics zones, and bonded ports.
Such specially supervised areas offer protective tariffs for imported goods and simplified customs procedures.
The government is working to turn these specially supervised areas more attractive to investors by enhancing functions such as bonded processing and bonded logistics zones, while at the same time adding functions like research and development, testing, maintenance, and commodity and service trade to these areas.
(Xinhua News Agency January 31, 2009)