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ASEAN, China start negotiations on upgrading bilateral FTA

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Vietnam+ | 14 April 2023

ASEAN, China start negotiations on upgrading bilateral FTA

Jakarta (VNA) – The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China started the first round of negotiations on the upgrade of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) at a meeting of the Working Group on Standards, Technical Regulations, and Conformity Assessment Procedures (WG-STRACAP) on April 11.

This meeting is a follow-up to the results of the 21st AEM Forum – Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) Consultation on September 17, 2022, which agreed to increase the implementation of the ACFTA through the endorsement of the Joint Feasibility Study Report to Further Enhance the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA3. 0).

The upgrade of the ACFTA will focus on sectors that benefit the interests of both parties (ASEAN and China), including the digital economy, green economy, non-tariff measures, consumer protection issues, and MSMEs, as well as the rearrangement of chapters structure of the ACFTA.

In this meeting, AMS and China also exchanged views and input on elements that might be accommodated in the STRACAP ( Upgraded AFCTA Structure) chapter. Both parties agreed to further explore the dispute settlement process in the next round of negotiations. Apart from that, the two parties also agreed to explore technical issues in Article 6.5 International Standards, Guides, and Recommendations in the ACFTA STRACAP chapter.

Both ASEAN and China hope that negotiations related to STRACAP will be advanced in the future. They are ready to coordinate intensively, in order to reach an agreement that is beneficial to both parties.

The second round of negotiations is planned to be held in the second quarter of 2023 in China on a hybrid basis.

 source: Vietnam+