Global Times - 13 December 2023
China, Honduras make further progress on bilateral FTA negotiations
By Feng Fan
China and Honduras held the third round of negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) on Monday and Tuesday in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, completing negotiations for an early harvest arrangement, according to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.
The two sides had in-depth talks on trade in goods and services, investment, trade rules and other areas.
The two countries have strong trade complementarities, and the FTA negotiation process has established expectations for the market and enterprises, creating a stable and favorable environment for market participants, Zhou Mi, a senior research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
An early harvest agreement is generally made in areas where the two sides hope to facilitate trade and investment as soon as possible, with tariff reductions for key commodities. Some Honduran products can enter the Chinese market earlier through the agreement, demonstrating the importance of the Chinese market for local enterprises and markets, Zhou said.
Bilateral trade has grown rapidly since the establishment of diplomatic relations in March this year, exceeding $1.57 billion in the first 10 months of 2023, up 17.9 percent year-on-year, according to the General Administration of Customs (GAC).
The GAC has allowed the import of multiple Honduran products, including fresh bananas, coffee beans and aquatic products. With the opening of the Chinese market, China’s imports from Honduras totaled $72.88 million, soaring 188.2 percent year-on-year.
Importing Honduran products, such as coffee and aquatic products, provides Chinese consumers with wider choices. The signing of the early harvest agreement at the third round of talks is conducive to establishing a broader trade framework for both sides on subsequent negotiations, Zhou said.
In the initial stage of China-Honduras relations, both sides reached a consensus on negotiating an FTA between the two countries and promoting practical cooperation in the areas of finance, agriculture, education, healthcare, culture, tourism and the media, as well as science and technology, according to a joint statement released on June 12.