China is talking with 27 countries and regions on the establishment of nine free trade areas (FTAs), sources with the Ministry of Commerce announced on Friday.
At a press conference on the Sino-Pakistan "early harvest" program for the free trade agreement, which was held here Friday, Chinese Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai told Xinhua that China and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) witnessed the fastest progress in their FTA construction.
The all-round tariff reduction process between China and ASEAN has been kicked off in July this year, he said.
China has also launched FTA negotiations with southern Africa, Latin America and South Asia, he acknowledged. The "early harvest" agreement signed by China and Pakistan Friday will help the people of both countries benefit from free trade in advance.
China's mainland has implemented the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) with Hong Kong and Macao, and signed an FTA cargo trade agreement with Chile which is due to take effect on July 1, 2006.
China is also conferring with Gulf countries, New Zealand and Australia about FTA construction, the ministry said.
(Xinhua News Agency December 10, 2005)