China is negotiating free trade area (FTA) agreements with a number of countries, said Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai on Tuesday.
Cui made the remarks in response to a questioner who asked if Chinese President Hu Jintao was planning to discuss an FTA agreement between China and India during his visit to India this month.
"China is in negotiations with some countries on the arrangements of FTA, which will meet the needs of economic and trade relations between China and related countries," said Cui.
Cui did not elaborate on which countries China is negotiating with.
He said China hopes the negotiations will make progress and reach arrangements that are beneficial to both sides as soon as possible.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu announced on Tuesday, President Hu will pay state visits to Vietnam, Laos, India and Pakistan from Nov. 15 to 26, during which Hu will also attend the 14th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam from Nov. 17 to 19.
Chinese Assistant Minister of Commerce Fu Ziying has said China is considering the possibility of establishing a free trade area with India.
"Following the reopening of the trade post on the Indian-Chinese border, our government is considering FTA talks with India," Fu said last weekend at the 2007 China Industrial Development Forum in Beijing.
(Xinhua News Agency November 8, 2006)