Premier promotes creation of FTA with EU
Updated: 2013-06-29 04:02
By DING QINGFEN and LI JIABAO (China Daily)
In early March, Wu Hailong, China's ambassador to the EU, told China Daily that China had submitted a proposal on launching a feasibility study into the creation of a free trade agreement with the EU.
The two sides are expected to officially launch talks over a bilateral investment treaty later this year, Wu said.
Feng Zhongping, vice-president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said he thinks the creation of a two-way investment treaty could pave the way for an FTA.
He Maochun, director of the Economy and Diplomacy Research Center at Tsinghua University in Beijing, added: "Undoubtedly, the prospects for a China-EU FTA are very promising, given the sound bilateral economic relations."
However, He cautioned that some major hurdles still exist in finalizing the plans.
"The two economies are so different from each other, and they compete fiercely in many sectors," He added.
As the Doha round of talks remain deadlocked, countries have been pursuing new market openings through bilateral and regional trade pacts.
The United States recently announced the launch of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership talks with the EU, with the first round of negotiations due to start early next month.
Negotiations are also ongoing for the farther development of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, led by the US, which involves 12 countries, with Japan the newest member.
Against such a backdrop, experts are encouraging China to accelerate its FTA strategy, especially with the EU.