China looks to expand global FTA network

China looks to expand global FTA network

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  • China wants the newly signed China-Cambodia free trade agreement (FTA) to take effect as soon as possible
  • Beijing eyes upgrade of existing trade pacts with ASEAN, Singapore, South Korea, and New Zealand
  • China will facilitate talks on the China-Japan-South Korea, China-Gulf Cooperation Council, China-Norway, and China-Israel FTAs

China will step up efforts to expand the free trade area network across the world to enlarge its “circle of friends,” according to China’s Commerce Minister Zhong Shan.

After signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) last month, China will actively engage in dialogue and communication with more major economies and regional trade mechanisms, Zhong said in a signed article published recently in the People’s Daily.

China will also see that the China-Cambodia free trade agreement (FTA) takes effect at the earliest possible time, Zhong said, as reported by Xinhua News.

The RCEP was signed by 15 member countries in Asia in November. Signatories are the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the region’s five dialogue partners South Korea, Japan, China, New Zealand and Australia.

A month earlier, China and Cambodia signed an FTA on October 5, 2020, aimed at reducing tariffs and boosting market access between the two countries.

In addition, Beijing wants to accelerate investment agreement negotiations with Europe, according to Zhong.

He also urged efforts to upgrade the existing trade pacts with ASEAN, Singapore, South Korea and New Zealand.

The official also said China will facilitate the China-Japan-South Korea, China-Gulf Cooperation Council, China-Norway and China-Israel FTA negotiations.

Meanwhile, China also promised to open more than 120 service sectors, including R&D and elderly care. This is 22 more than the number of sectors the country had agreed to open upon accession to the World Trade Organization, said the report.

Photo by ahenobarbus

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