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China to accelerate China-Japan-ROK FTA talks

(Xinhua)    11:21, March 07, 2015

BEIJING, March 7 -- China will accelerate the free trade agreement (FTA) talks between China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) based on the newly-signed China-ROK FTA, Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said Saturday.

Gao made the remarks at a press conference on the sidelines of the ongoing annual session of the National People's Congress, the top legislature.

The country also eyes wrapping up talks for an updated version of FTA between China and the ASEAN countries, as well as talks for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by the end of 2015, said the minister.

China and the ROK announced the conclusion of FTA talks in late February. Gao said the FTA is of high level, high quality and balanced interests, covering trade, investment, areas in finance, telecom and people-to-people exchange, as well as new issues such as environment, standards, labor and competition neutrality.

Speaking of the China-Australia FTA talks that were practically concluded in late 2014, Gao said Australia has virtually the same rules, regulations and frameworks with other major industrialized countries concerning trade and investment.

The substantive conclusion of FTA talks between China and Australia showed China has the "confidence and ability" to start FTA talks with "any country or region in the world," Gao said.

Gao revealed that China is considering FTA talks or has begun FTA consultations with some countries or regions in South Asia, Central Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.

So far, the country has established FTAs with more than 20 countries and regions in the world, covering nearly 30 percent of China's foreign trade, the minister said.

Believing it part of the efforts to pursue the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives, China vows to advance FTA talks with the Gulf Cooperation Council and Israel, Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday while delivering his government work report at the national legislature.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Zhang Qian,Bianji)

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