China has always been a staunch supporter, active participant and key contributor of the multilateral trading system. MOFCOM said earlier that China had signed 19 FTAs with 26 countries and regions. Do you have any update? What are the future plans for signing or upgrading the FTAs?(2022-09-22)
Since China’s accession to the WTO over twenty years ago, its FTA circle of friends has kept expanding, with richer contents and rising standards. A global-oriented high-standard FTA network encompassing the Belt and Road regions has largely taken shape. So far, China has signed 19 FTAs with 26 countries and regions., covering Asia, Oceania, Latin America, Europe and Africa. China’s trade with its FTA partners accounts for around 35% of its total foreign trade value.
Moving forward, we will work on expansion, quality and effect when implementing the FTA enhancement strategy to effectively connect domestic and international markets and two sets of resources, provide institutional guarantee for higher-level opening up, and serve the new development paradigm. First, we will further expand the scope. We will actively advance the CPTPP process through consultations and close contact with CPTPP parties. We will vigorously push forward DEPA negotiations for early accession. We will continue to more forward FTA negotiations with the GCC, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Israel, and Norway, the China-Japan-ROK FTA talks and the upgrade to China-ASEAN FTA 3.0, forge FTAs with more willing trading partners, and jointly work towards regional economic integration and trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. Second, we will further raise the standards by increasing the percentage of zero-tariff goods, widening market access for trade in services and investment, and actively taking part in negotiations on digital economy and environmental protection, among other new issues, in a bid to a new open economic system of a higher level. Third, we will further boost real effect. With the entry into force and implementation of RCEP, we will step up FTA communication, promotion and training and enhance the overall utility of FTAs, so that they can benefit businesses and people better and faster. Thank you.