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China

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


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The Maldives’ new government will pull out of a free trade agreement with China because it was a mistake for the tiny nation to strike such a pact with the world’s second biggest economy, the head of the largest party in the ruling alliance said.
China, PNG agree on comprehensive strategic partnership
Chinese President Xi Jinping called on the two sides to reach a consensus as soon as possible to start negotiations on a free trade agreement. Papua New Guinea was the first among Pacific island countries to sign a cooperation agreement on the Belt and Road.
Beijing, ASEAN upgrade FTA protocol
China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have upgraded the protocol of their free trade agreement to build the largest free trade zone among developing countries.
China, Singapore explore more potentials for BRI cooperation
China and Singapore are jointly exploring potentials for further cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with recent conclusion of negotiations on the upgraded China-Singapore free trade agreement
In Beijing, Ukraine and China begin talks on free trade agreement
Ukrainian and Chinese officials began preliminary talks on a possible, future Ukraine-China free trade agreement.
China, Palestine sign agreement to begin free-trade talks
China has agreed to begin free-trade talks with Palestine, Beijing said on Wednesday
Norway FTA talks picking up speed
Norway and China are likely to conclude a trade pact next year.
China-Norway FTA may come next year, ambassador says
In the 12th round of China-Norway FTA negotiations, the two nations discussed goods and service trades and investment, rules of origin, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, intellectual property, ecommerce, other matters.
Panama and China start FTA third negotiation round
The third negotiation round will aim to advance in barriers and the facilitation of trade, customs procedures, intellectual property and electronic trade.
Plan to upgrade China-ASEAN trade agreement unveiled
Chinese Vice-Premier announced that China will work with ASEAN to upgrade the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement signed in 2004 and accelerate talks for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.