China’s New Commerce Minister Sees More Free Trade Deals: Xinhua

China is working to sign free trade deals with more trading partners, the country’s new commerce minister said, as part of the nation’s efforts to build a global network of free trade zones.

The government will push for the implementation of the Asia-Pacific trade agreement, known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, as soon as possible, Wang Wentao said in an interview with state-run Xinhua News Agency Thursday. China will also accelerate negotiations with Japan and South Korea on a free trade pact, as well hold talks with countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council, Israel and Norway.

“We have more and more free trade partners and the level of opening up is getting higher and higher,” Wang told Xinhua. China has signed 19 free trade agreements with 26 countries and regions, with the trading value accounting for 35% of China’s total foreign trade, he said.

The government is also actively considering joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

In November, China signed RCEP with 14 other Asia-Pacific nations that forms the world’s largest free-trade agreement. Last month, the European Union and China gave political approval for an investment pact that would open the Chinese market further to EU investors.

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