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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, Chile sign services free-trade pact
China and Chile signed an agreement on free trade in services on Sunday, following talks between the two presidents. The two nations committed themselves to opening up their service sectors in accordance with World Trade Organization rules, under a supplementary agreement to their formal free-trade pact signed in 2005.
China’s new brand of free trade
Welcome to the era of free trade, Chinese style.With Beijing’s completion of a bilateral free-trade pact Monday with New Zealand, its first with a developed country, the government has raised the tempo in its race to secure sources for commodities it deems critical to the growth of the economy: dairy products, food and raw materials.
Peru, China boost trade ahead of November free trade deal, President Garcia says
Peru and China have agreed to boost trade and investment between their countries ahead of a free trade deal planned for November, President Alan Garcia said.
FM: Association with China generates investments, tourism in Peru
China and Peru will accomplish a free trade agreement (FTA) and become strategic associates, which would bring more investments and tourism to this South American country, Peruvian Foreign Minister Jose Garcia Belaunde said Thursday.
China, Chile continue talks on service trade
Chile and China started their sixth round of talks on cooperation in the service trade Tuesday in the Chilean capital of Santiago.
China, Peru to set up free trade agreement
Talks between China and Peru to set up a free trade agreement are well underway. The Andean country says it hopes to become China’s most important commercial link in Latin America.
China signs new FTA agreement
China has signed a new free trade area (FTA) agreement, sources with the Ministry of Commerce disclosed but declined to elaborate.
China and Arabic countries forge economic strategic partnership
The Arab world holds an important position in Chinese enterprises’ global strategies. It is predicted that China and the Gulf Cooperation Council will sign a free trade agreement soon.
Chinese premier proposes four priority fields for cooperation with Singapore
The two sides should jointly promote the building of bilateral free trade area (FTA) says Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
China, Costa Rica to begin FTA process
China and Costa Rica said they will conduct a feasibility study on a free trade agreement — four months after the two established formal diplomatic ties.


  • 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