(Yicai Global) Sept. 14 -- China is forging ahead to surround itself with free trade pacts, according to its commerce ministry. The country has also received an invitation from the US to talk about trade which has become a hot topic amid the past months' tariff increases.
"China is currently pushing ahead with negotiations with 27 countries and regions on 12 free trade agreements or upgrading existing FTAs," Gao Feng, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce told Yicai Global at a regular press briefing yesterday.
The main topics include regional comprehensive economic partnerships, Gao said. China is negotiating new FTAs with the coalition of Japan and South Korea, as well as the individual countries of Norway, Sri Lanka, and Israel. Second phases of trade pacts with Pakistan and South Korea are on the way while FTAs with Singapore and New Zealand require upgrades.
When answering a question whether the US has approached to discuss trade, Gao said that China has indeed received an invitation from the US and welcomes its move. He added that the two sides are now talking about specific details. China believes that an escalating trade dispute would be in the interests of neither party, said Gao. US President Donald Trump has threatened to impose additional tariffs on almost all of Chinese exports to the US.
China has so far negotiated over 17 free trade agreements with 25 countries and regions, Gao said, adding that the country's free trade partners span over Europe, Asia, Oceania, South America and Africa.
Editor: Emmi Laine