bilaterals.org logo
bilaterals.org logo

China

China actively seeks bilateral trade and investment deals outside of the World Trade Organisation. The government has put priority on forging agreements with neighbouring countries of Asia, but also many other countries on whom it relies for minerals, energy, food, infrastructure or geopolitical support.

Beijing has signed bilateral trade agreements with ASEAN (2002), Hong Kong (2002), Macau (2003), Thailand (2003), Niger (2005), Chile (2006), Pakistan (2006), New Zealand (2008), Peru (2008), Singapore (2008), Costa Rica (2010), Taiwan (2010), Switzerland (2013), Iceland (2014), Australia (2015), Korea (2015), Georgia (2017), Maldives (2017) and the Eurasian Economic Union (2018). China is also a party to 127 bilateral investment treaties.

China is currently in bilateral negotiations with the European Union (investment), the Gulf Cooperation Council, Israel, Mauritius, Moldova, New Zealand (to upgrade the current agreement), Norway, Pakistan (upgrade), Singapore (upgrade), the Southern African Customs Union and Sri Lanka, as well as with Japan and Korea for a possible a three-way deal. Further down the horizon, there is talk of eventual negotiations with Canada, Chile (upgrade), Colombia, Fiji, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Palestine, Panama, Peru (upgrade), Switzerland (upgrade) and Uruguay.

Regionally, China has proposed a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, an initiative that would encompass the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation nations, in direct rivalry with US-led projects like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But that intitiative is currently on hold.

China is currently part of the talks on a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). RCEP is a mega-regional trade agreement proposed by the Association of South East Asian Nations with its FTA partners : China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.

If concluded, it would give Chinese corporations market access to India — in goods, services and investment — that it does not have through its own FTAs.

China also sees RCEP as a key element of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an infrastructure project meant to link Asia with Europe, passing through Africa, and with an extension to Latin America.

China is also using the BRI to push more countries to sign free trade agreements to consolidate the trade and investment leverage that the project opens up.

last update: June 2018


Chinese, Chilean presidents agree to further promote cooperation under BRI
Chinese President and his Chilean counterpart agreed to further promote bilateral cooperation under the Belt and Road framework. The upgraded FTA between the two countries came into effect in March 2019.
Pak-China FTA to be signed on April 28: Chinese envoy
Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Phase II between Pakistan and China would be signed on April 28, during the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China.
China: ‘Belt and Road’ projects should respect rights
The Chinese government should ensure the projects it finances or engages in under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) respect human rights, said Human Rights Watch.
China, EAEU should sign FTA as soon as possible - Chinese Ambassador
China and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) should conclude a FTA as soon as possible to deepen cooperation, Chinese Ambassador in Moscow Li Hui said on Monday
FTA’s second phase: China extends zero rate duties to Pakistan
In the second phase of FTA, the Chinese government has finally offered Pakistan the market access similar to that given to other countries of ASEAN.
Swiss to support Belt and Road push during president’s China trip
Switzerland will sign an accord backing China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Switzerland was the first country in continental Europe to reach a free trade agreement with China.
China to extend duty free access on 313 more tariff lines
China has agreed in principle to extend duty free access on additional 313 tariff lines under the proposed second phase of the China Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA).
The Belt and Road Initiative: A new road or a dead-end for peoples’ development?
What does the BRI mean from the perspective of the development of peoples in the global South?
Eurasian Economic Union not ready to fully abolish trade restrictions with China - Official
The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) member states are not ready to create a free-trade area (FTA) with China.
Negative list makes debut in FTA talks
China used the negative list system for the first time to conduct negotiations on service trade and investment during the second phase of China-South Korea Free Trade Agreement talks.