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China, Chile put free trade agreement into effect

Peoples Daily Online, China

China, Chile put free trade agreement into effect

1 October 2006

(Xinhua)China and Chile’s free trade agreement, which is expected to eventually exempt 97 percent of all trade goods from import tariffs, went into effect on Sunday.

Effective Oct. 1, China will lift tariffs on 2,834 products imported from Chile, including copper.

Chile will give duty free status to 5,891 commodities from China, including vegetables, fruits and mechanical and electrical equipment.

China has agreed to maintain tariffs on 7,391 products imported from Chile, while 7,750 exported products will be charged levies by Chile, said the Ministry of Finance.

China is Chile’s second largest trading partner, with copper contributing to 30 percent of China’s imports from Chile. Statistics from the International Copper Association (China) show that 50 percent of China’s imported copper comes from Chile.

Chinese factories that process and consume copper will benefit from tariff cuts, said insiders of copper industry.

China and Chile initiated free trade talks in November 2004. It took five rounds of negotiations before a consensus was reached on November 18, 2005. Chile is the first Latin American country to sign a free trade agreement with China.

The Ministry of Commerce said bilateral trade between China and Chile has been growing at an average annual rate of 20 percent since 2000. Commodity trade volume reached 7.13 billion U.S. dollars in 2005, with China’s imports standing at 2.15 billion U.S. dollars and Chile’s imports hitting 4.98 billion U.S. dollars.