China vows to ink more free trade agreements with partners: commerce ministry
Published: Mar 01, 2022 03:49 PM
Photo taken on Nov. 10, 2020 shows the Xiamen Area of China (Fujian) Pilot Free Trade Zone in Xiamen, east China's Fujian Province.Photo: Xinhua

Photo taken on Nov. 10, 2020 shows the Xiamen Area of China (Fujian) Pilot Free Trade Zone in Xiamen, east China's Fujian Province.Photo: Xinhua

China is taking the initiative to promote free trade agreements (FTAs) in line with international economic and trade rules, comprehensively deepening reform and accelerating system-oriented opening-up, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Tuesday.

Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao made the remarks during a press conference on Tuesday after the country has officially filed an application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) last year. 

"This reflects our determination and confidence to deepen reform and expand opening-up, as well as our sincere willingness to strengthen cooperation in the global digital economy and promote innovation and sustainable development," Wang said.

In September 2021, China formally applied to join the CPTPP. Vice minister of commerce Wang Shouwen said before the application, the ministry conducted a full, comprehensive and in-depth analysis and assessment of CPTPP provisions. 

According to CPTPP rules, China is improving or modifying some laws and reform initiatives. At present, China is in contact with relevant members in accordance with the CPTPP accession procedures.

Wang Shouwen noted that some provisions of the CPTPP are complex, but it is consistent with the general direction of China's reform and opening up drive, as well as the country's participation in international digital economy cooperation and continuous optimization of the digital business environment. 

China also has the conditions to fulfill its obligations under CPTPP rules regarding state-owned enterprises, the vice minister added.

China has put in place several cyber security laws, including Cybersecurity Law, Data Security Law and Personal Information Protection Law. Wang Shouwen said the ministry, together with relevant departments, will ramp up efforts to meet requirements under CPTPP rules as formulating supporting regulations.

Wang Wentao noted that the ministry continues to promote FTA negotiations with the Gulf Cooperation Council, Ecuador, Israel and Norway, and is actively accelerating the upgrade of the China-ASEAN free trade agreement.

"China is willing to negotiate with more economies and countries and actively participates in negotiations on emerging issues such as digital economy and environmental protection, in a bid to jointly promote regional economic integration and facilitate trade and investment," the minister said. 

According to the ministry, China has signed 19 FTAs with 26 countries and regions, with FTA partners covering Asia, Oceania, Latin America, Europe and Africa, with trade volume with the FAT partners accounting for 35 percent of the country's overall foreign trade.

Global Times