The China Insurance Regulatory Commission signed a cooperative agreement with the local Tianjin government to press ahead with trials of insurance sector reforms in the Binhai New Zone, the Shanghai Securities News reported. The financial center of the northern port city was approved to trial insurance reforms in May, but no details have emerged on progress. It was not clear from the article what effect the new agreement would have. China’s State Council officially designated the Binhai New Area as an experimental zone for comprehensive financial reform in June 2006 as part of efforts to develop it into the country's third economic powerhouse, behind Shenzhen in south China's Guangdong province and the Pudong New Area in Shanghai. A series of experimental schemes were slated to be launched, including financial initiatives, land administration methods, a bonded area and preferential tax policies. [Additional reporting by TCP]

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