Chinese FTA Negotiation
FTA negotiation, as a typical example of regional economic integration, developed rapidly in recent years, covered nearly all countries and regions worldwide and became a trend in global economy nowadays. By Sept. 2005, total 334 regional trading arrangements like FTA were formally submitted to WTO, 80% of which were signed in the past 10 years, and another 27 arrangements were newly added from Jan. through Sept. 2005. Most of WTO members took part in more than 1 FTA or other regional trading arrangements.
FTAs were titled in various forms but main contents were that relative members implemented non-tariff measures and non-tariff barrier on most of goods trade and further open up service and investment market to each other on the basis of WTO commitment. Compared with multi-lateral negotiation like WTO, FTA negotiation had obvious advantages of short-time, steady progress and high speed.
Outline of the Tenth Five-Year Planning drafted in 2001 definitely confirmed "active participation in Multi-lateral trading system and international regional economic cooperation" as one of important ways to improve the level of opening-up. 5 years ago, FTAs in China were established, numbers increasing steadily and made a good start.
So far, 9 FTAs were negotiated to set up, covering 27 countries and regions and accounting for one quarter of total foreign trade of China in 2004. Especially in the latest 2 years, CEPA was expanded gradually, tariff reduction program of the China-ASEAN FTA were implemented in an all round way. China-Chile FTA Agreement and ASEAN-China FTA Early Harvest Program were formally signed. FTA negations between China and New Zealand, China and Australia, China and GCC made steady progresses.
Benefits brought by FTA negotiation became obvious. Taking China-ASEAN FTA for example, more than 500 categories of agricultural products such as meat, fish, milk, egg, vegetable and fruit were implemented tariff reduction as early harvest program products since Jan. 1, 2004, when trade value of early harvest program products increased to US$1.97 billion, up by 39.8% on a year-on-year basis.
As an important measure of China to develop foreign trade and economic cooperation, FTA establishment was much significant. To positively and steadily push forward the work of establishing FTA will be beneficial for promotion of bilateral trade and economic relations between China and relative countries and regions to further develop foreign trade, for exploitation of overseas market to promote export market diversification, for elimination of discrimination treatment to create a fair, transparent and convenient trading environment, for reasonable introduction of international competition to push forward development of domestic industry, for absorption of more foreign investment to take part in domestic economic construction, for encouraging domestic enterprises to invest overseas and implement strategy of “Going Global”, and for expansion of bilateral cooperation to realize common development.
Party’s Suggestions on the Development of the 11th Five-Year National Economic and Social Development Plan points out that China will actively participate in multi-lateral trade negotiation, push forward regional and multi-lateral economic cooperation and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. Looking into the future, China will take part in international economic and technological cooperation and competition with a bigger scale, in a broader area and at a higher level on the basis of mutual benefits and equality so as to completely utilize international and domestic markets, optimize resources allocation and expand development space, will keep an more active and initiative posture to promote the progress of FTA negotiations, endeavor to build an all-dimensional, multi-layered FTA pattern, enlarge trade and economic relations with countries in the world and provide a favorable condition for national economy and foreign trade to develop steadily and rapidly.