Shanghai Municipal Government: Free Trade and Special Economic Zones in the UK

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Client: Shanghai Municipal Government

Programme: Free Trade and Special Economic Zones in the UK

(Delivered in UK, Autumn, 2014)

The client

In autumn 2014 Dods Training was approached by a senior delegation from the Pilot Free Trade Zone Administration and Shanghai Municipal Government. The delegation wanted a bespoke training programme focusing on free trade and special economic zones in the UK supplemented by a range of relevant meetings with practitioners and industry experts.

The problem

As Shanghai develops its pilot free trade zones, the delegation wanted to explore other established models of special economic zones. Looking to glean best practice, the group wished to come to the UK and undertake a bespoke training programme looking at special economic zones in the UK as well as how the UK interacts with offshore financial centres abroad. They were looking to explore both the current landscape of special economic zones in the UK and how the Government oversees and manages such areas.

Our actions

Dods Training worked quickly to design a programme which addressed the training requirements specified by the client. It was important to tailor the programme to focus on areas of UK expertise whilst maintaining continuity with delegates’ every-day work in Shanghai. The final programme focused on various special economic zones operating both in the UK and beyond as well as the UK’s approach to free trade zones elsewhere. When focusing on those economic zones outside the UK, the onus was on how the UK Government coordinates its efforts and collaborates with such areas.

Chaired by one of our expert consultants, the two-day programme was supplemented with relevant meetings and site visits, organised and coordinated by Dods Training. This helped the delegation connect the theory with practice and allowed them to meet with industry experts and apply the learning from the two days in the classroom. During the programme, the delegation heard from a range of expert guest speakers on topics including the history of offshore financial centres and the influence of the European Union on tax, trade and regulation.

In addition, the delegation visited ports and enterprise zones around the country. Where relevant, the group were taken on site tours and offered the opportunity to ask any outstanding questions to industry leaders.


The training programme and meetings were very well received. The delegation highlighted the visit to the ports of particular interest as it related directly to their own work back in Shanghai.