logo logo


China actively seeks bilateral trade and investment deals outside of the World Trade Organisation. The government has put priority on forging agreements with neighbouring countries of Asia, but also many other countries on whom it relies for minerals, energy, food, infrastructure or geopolitical support.

Beijing has signed bilateral trade agreements with ASEAN (2002), Hong Kong (2002), Macau (2003), Thailand (2003), Niger (2005), Chile (2006), Pakistan (2006), New Zealand (2008), Peru (2008), Singapore (2008), Costa Rica (2010), Taiwan (2010), Switzerland (2013), Iceland (2014), Australia (2015), Korea (2015), Georgia (2017), Maldives (2017) and the Eurasian Economic Union (2018). China is also a party to 127 bilateral investment treaties.

China is currently in bilateral negotiations with the European Union (investment), the Gulf Cooperation Council, Israel, Mauritius, Moldova, New Zealand (to upgrade the current agreement), Norway, Pakistan (upgrade), Singapore (upgrade), the Southern African Customs Union and Sri Lanka, as well as with Japan and Korea for a possible a three-way deal. Further down the horizon, there is talk of eventual negotiations with Canada, Chile (upgrade), Colombia, Fiji, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Palestine, Panama, Peru (upgrade), Switzerland (upgrade) and Uruguay.

Regionally, China has proposed a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, an initiative that would encompass the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation nations, in direct rivalry with US-led projects like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But that intitiative is currently on hold.

China is currently part of the talks on a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). RCEP is a mega-regional trade agreement proposed by the Association of South East Asian Nations with its FTA partners : China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.

If concluded, it would give Chinese corporations market access to India — in goods, services and investment — that it does not have through its own FTAs.

China also sees RCEP as a key element of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an infrastructure project meant to link Asia with Europe, passing through Africa, and with an extension to Latin America.

China is also using the BRI to push more countries to sign free trade agreements to consolidate the trade and investment leverage that the project opens up.

last update: June 2018
photo: Eddie / CC BY-ND 2.0

China’s latest geopolitical assault on Latin American commodities and bilateral trade
Two key figures in Chinese politics embarked on a tour of Latin American countries on February 9, in a sign that the Asian superpower is intent on consolidating its already substantial stake in the region.
China to seek early FTA with GCC
Chinese President Hu Jintao said Wednesday that China will seek an early free trade agreement (FTA) with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
China, Switzerland agree to begin feasibility study on free trade zone
China and Switzerland decided on Tuesday to begin a joint feasibility study on creating a bilateral free trade zone in the second half of this year in preparation for formally launching negotiations on the issue.
China and Costa Rica begin free trade talks
China and Costa Rica on Monday began talks for a free trade treaty under which the Central American nation hopes to export meat, plants, fruit and coffee to the Asian giant
Hu’s LatAm trip expands China’s profile in US backyard
Chinese President Hu Jintao has left Latin America with one free trade agreement in hand, another in the works and a deeper Chinese footprint in a region long seen as the US backyard.
Peruvian business leader hails conclusion of FTA talks with China
The chief of a leading Peruvian business group on Thursday hailed the conclusion of talks on a free trade agreement (FTA) between Peru and China.
China and Peru sign free trade agreement, extending Asian influence in Latin America
China and Peru signed a free trade agreement today (Wednesday) that will pave the way for further cooperation between the two countries and broaden China’s influence in Latin America.
China, Costa Rica to launch trade talks
China and Costa Rica will launch free trade talks in January and hope to seal a deal by 2010, Chinese President Hu Jintao said Monday during his first visit to a Central American country.
China seeks to cement trade clout with Latin America
Hu Jintao and scores of business people sweep through Latin America to reinforce Beijing’s economic power in the region
China, Peru to ink trade deal as Hu visits Americas
China and Peru are poised to sign a free trade agreement when the Chinese president visits Latin America this month, a sign of the growing ties between the Asian economic giant and the resource-rich countries whose exports it needs.


  • Belt and Road Initiative and human rights
    FIDH’s webpage that aims to collect and share information regarding the human rights and environmental impacts of China’s Belt and Road Initiative projects in recipient countries across Asia.
  • China FTA Network
    Official website on China’s FTAs, maintained by MOFCOM