The China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (SPFTZ) founded in September 2013, is a trial for China’s new round of “reform and opening up.”  The SPFTZ has promised liberalization on capital account and trade facilitation as its main objectives. This paper discusses reasons why China needs such a pilot zone after three decades of economic development, examines the differences between the SPFTZ and other free trade zones and highlights the developments of the SPFTZ since its inception. The SPFTZ’s initial impressions are assessed, especially its impact on the opening of China’s capital account and financial liberalization. The hope is that the success of the SPFTZ, and more pilot policies replicated in China, will give rise to a more balanced Chinese economy in the following decade.

CIGI Papers present in-depth analysis and discussion on governance-related subjects. They include policy papers that present CIGI experts' positions or contributions to policy debates, and background papers that contain research findings, insights and data that contribute to the development of policy positions.