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
photo: Eddie / CC BY-ND 2.0


Mercosur-China FTA could be "extraordinary", says Argentine FM
Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman Saturday urged to boost the south American country ’s trade ties with China, saying a free trade agreement (FTA) between Beijing and the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) could be "extraordinary".
China mulls free trade zone among SCO member states
Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan said member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization should consider setting up a free trade agreement which, once in place, would cover about three fifths of the Eurasia’s landmass.
FTA between China, Costa Rica to enter into force on Aug. 1
The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Costa Rica and China, the first such pact inked between China and a Central American country, will enter into force on Aug. 1, Foreign Trade Minister Anabel Gonzalez said Friday.
Hong Kong and member states of the European Free Trade Association sign Free Trade Agreement
Hong Kong and the member states of the European Free Trade Association, namely Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, signed a Free Trade Agreement today (June 21) in Liechtenstein.
China-SADC investment forum held in South Africa
China, South Africa’s leading trade partner which has been in the past focusing its investment interests in the country’s mining and manufacturing sectors will soon "diversify" to other economic sectors and industries promoting job creation in South Africa, the Chinese investment body revealed Thursday.
Interview: Sino-Swiss trade deal talks making good progress
Negotiations between China and Switzerland on a free trade agreement "are making good progress," the Chinese minister responsible for European trade affairs has said. China will be looking to accelerate the pace of FTA agreements with other countries too.
China’s official proposes immediate start of E Asia FTA talks
East Asia should wait no more for the opening of dialogues over the establishment of a free trade area (FTA) that will help facilitate the global economic recovery, a Chinese commerce official said in Anhui on Tuesday.
Costa Rican FM hails FTA with China
Costa Rican Foreign Minister Rene Castro said on Saturday that the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China will help his country overcome the challenge of global financial crisis.
China rules out FTA with India in near future
A free trade agreement (FTA) between India and China is not possible in the near future "due to pressure from certain quarters," said a top Chinese diplomat in India, adding that though both countries are interested in having one.
China, Switzerland agree to start FTA talks
China and Switzerland on Friday agreed to start free trade agreement (FTA) talks, as the two states celebrate their 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties.