China plans to expand free trade network, accelerate FTA talks

China plans to expand free trade network, accelerate FTA talks

China has planned to expand its network of free trade and is willing to sign more free trade agreements (FTAs) with its trade partners to jointly promote free and convenient trade and investment, Gao Feng, spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce said at a regular press briefing on Thursday.

The country will boost China-Japan-South Korea FTA talks and free trade talks with Gulf Cooperation Council, Israel and Norway, while actively considering joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Gao said.

"Meanwhile, we will step up efforts to enhance the levels of present FTAs by actively exploring free trade rules that are integrated into international common rules while in line with our own need for reform and development," he said.

He pointed out that the country will further improve the proportion of goods for zero tariffs, further relax market access into the country's services trade and investment sectors, and actively talks on new rules such as digital economy and environmental protection.

Gao said that MOFCOM will strengthen promotion and training relating to FTAs already signed, to ensure the deals will benefit more enterprises and individuals.

He said last week that the country's process of ratifying the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, beginning in December 2020, is moving along as expected, and the government aims to complete it within a six-month period.

Relevant government departments have issued duty lists in keeping to the RCEP lines so that all the opening moves and rule-based obligations could be fully acted upon, Gao said, noting that training related to the trade deal will be organized to help local governments, companies and intermediary organizations learn the RCEP rules.

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