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What progress can we expect this year from China’s accession to CPTPP and DEPA? What other initiatives will MOFCOM take to promote the signing of more free trade agreements?(2022-02-17)

Regarding the accession to the CPTPP, China has conducted a full, comprehensive and in-depth study and assessment of the content of the agreement. China is willing to make efforts to fully meet the standards of CPTPP rules through reforms and make high-level opening-up commitments in the area of market access that will exceed China’s practices in existing pacts, so as to provide members with market access opportunities of huge commercial benefits. Currently, China is engaging in consultations with members in accordance with the relevant accession procedures of the CPTPP.

Regarding the accession to the DEPA, China is maintaining close communication with relevant parties and technical consultations are underway. China is ready to provide companies from DEPA members with cooperation opportunities and a broad market, tighten the mutual digital economy cooperation, and contribute to promoting innovation and sustainable development among members.

Regarding negotiating more FTAs, China’s FTA partners have been expanding, with increasingly richer content and ever-improving quality of the agreements thanks to the efforts of the past 20 years. So far, China has signed 19 FTAs with 26 countries and regions, with FTA partners covering Asia, Oceania, Latin America, Europe and Africa. China's trade with FTA partners accounted for about 35% of total foreign trade. In 2021, the total imports and exports between China and the partners with FTAs in force totaled RMB10.8 trillion, an increase of 23.6%, 2.2 and 2.4 percentage points higher than the overall growth rate of foreign trade and import and export growth with non-FTA partners respectively over the same period. Going forward, we will follow the deployment of the Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council to make China’s FTA network bigger, stronger and better so as to contribute to fostering a new development paradigm. We will continue to promote China-GCC, China-Israel, China-Norway, China-Ecuador, China-Japan-South Korea and other FTA negotiations, negotiate FTAs with more interested trading partners, and jointly promote regional economic integration and trade and investment Liberalization and facilitation. We will further enhance the quality of FTAs. Efforts will be made to increase the proportion of zero tariffs for trade in goods, and liberalize market access for trade in services and investment. We will actively participate in negotiations on new issues such as the digital economy and environmental protection. At the same time, we will strive to improve the overall utilization rate of the FTAs so that they can bring greater benefits to the enterprises and people of the countries concerned at a faster pace. Thank you.