Business / Economy

China's free trade strategy takes shape with new agreements with S. Korea, Australia entering into force

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-12-22 16:10
In the longer term, China aims to expand the network to cover all neighboring countries and regions, countries within the Belt and Road network, most emerging economies, big developing countries, major regional economic groups, and parts of the developed world.

A Ministry of Commerce official described the acceleration strategy as a "necessary choice" for China to adapt to global economic trends, deepen reforms and foster a more open economic framework.

China has been involved in the negotiation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a major FTA negotiation in Asia. In November 2014, members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) endorsed a roadmap for promoting the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) process at a meeting in Beijing.

China believes that bilateral FTAs do not necessarily run contrary to multilateral trade deals. Instead, the fruits they bear will provide grounds for accelerating talks on a region-wide free trade pact.

Despite its efforts to building more bilateral and regional FTAs, China has always been supportive to the multilateral trade mechanism and, with all its might, to push the Doha round of negotiations under the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Thanks to China and some other members, the 10th Ministerial Meeting of the WTO in Nairobi reached the major agreement on gradually eliminating export subsidies for agricultural products.

China also keeps its mind open to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the 12-nation trade deal led by the United States. As Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng put it, China is open to any trade mechanism so long as it follows WTO rules and is advantageous to the economic integration of the Asia Pacific region.

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