Accelerate the implementation of the free trade area strategy and construct a new open economic system

Chinese Government Work Report of the 4th Session of the 12th National People’s Congress points out that efforts should be made to accelerate the implementation of the free trade area strategy, to actively negotiate the regional comprehensive economic partnership, to accelerate the negotiations such as China-Japan-South Korea FTA, to promote the negotiations of China-US and China-EU investment agreements and to strengthen the research of the joint strategy of Asia-Pacific FTA. We are willing to work with all parties to push forward the trade and investment liberalization and jointly construct a balanced, win-win and inclusive international trade and economic system.

At present, China has signed and implemented 14 free trade agreements, involving 22 countries and regions, with free trade partners covering regions such as Asia, Latin America, Oceania and Europe, etc. This year, efforts will be made to push forward the construction of the free trade area with the countries along the line of the “Belt and Road” and the neighboring countries.

Accelerating and promoting the negotiation process of the RCEP. RCEP negotiation was officially launched in May 2013, with 16 members such as the 10 ASEAN countries, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India. Its population accounts for 50% of the whole world and its GDP, trade volume and foreign investment attraction are close to one third of the globe. The RCEP negotiation is the largest free trade agreement negotiation in Asia at present. It is also the negotiation with the most members, the largest scale and the broadest influence, ever participated by China. Now, 11 rounds of negotiations have been conducted and 4 trade and economic ministerial meetings have been held. All parties have completed the pattern negotiation of the market access of goods, service and investment and are conducting the bidding and charging negotiation of the practical market access of the core fields such as trade in goods, service trade and investment.

Actively promoted by China, the leaders of the RCEP issued a joint declaration during the series of East Asia Cooperation Meetings on November 22 2015, emphasizing that the RCEP is a significant route in the economic integration of this region and requesting all parties to strive to conclude the negotiations in 2016. China will work with all parties to speed up promoting the negotiations and work hard to realize the goal of concluding the negotiations by the end of 2016.

Making efforts to accelerate the China-Japan-South Korea FTA negotiation. China, Japan and South Korea are important economies in the world and the GDP and the foreign trade volume in total accounts for more than 20% of the world. Establishing the China-Japan-South Korea FTA is conducive to fully playing the industrial complementarity of the three countries, digging and improving the potential of the level of trade investment of the three countries and promoting the further integration of the regional value chain. The China-Japan-South Korea FTA was started in November 2012. At present, 9 rounds of negotiations have been held and comprehensive discussions have been undergoing on important issues such as trade in goods, service trade, investment and agreement scale, etc with positive progress. In November 2015, China-Japan-South Korea Leaders’ Meeting issued a joint declaration, reiterating that they would further strive to accelerate the FTA negotiations among the three countries and establish a comprehensive, high-level and mutually beneficial free trade agreement.

Promoting the FTAAP process. In 2014, the APEC Leaders’ Meeting in Beijing passed the Beijing Road Map of Promoting the Realization of the Asia Pacific Free Trade Area by the APEC proposed by China, agreeing to accelerate promoting the APFTA process by conducting the work such as the Asia Pacific FTA joint strategy research. At present, all parties are speeding up drawing the specific chapters of the research report, trying hard to complete the research of the joint strategy by the end of 2016 and submitting the report and relevant suggestions to the 2016 leaders’ meeting.

Source: http://english.mofcom.gov.cn/article/newsrelease/significantnews/201603/20160301285879.shtml

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