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FTAs boost multilateral trade negotiations

Updated: Mar 11,2018 2:50 PM     Xinhua

Vice-Minister of Commerce and Deputy China International Trade Representative Wang Shouwen answers questions at a news conference on opening up on all fronts and promoting high quality development of commercial business on the sidelines of the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress in Beijing, capital of China, March 11, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING — Bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) will help boost multilateral trade negotiations, Vice-Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said on March 11.

FTAs and multilateral trade negotiations can help each other forward, Wang told a news conference on the sidelines of the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress.

Wang said it is hard for 164 members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to reach an agreement, as a country is unlikely to open its market to all the other WTO members at one go.

However, once a member has realized both the advantages and the controllable risks by opening its market to other members under FTAs, it will tend to be more willing and bolder to show flexibility in multilateral trade negotiations, he said.

China has signed 16 FTAs involving a total of 24 countries and regions, including neighbors and Belt and Road nations, according to Wang.

“FTAs are a key part of our opening up drive and an important way of expanding international communications and cooperations. We will facilitate expansion of the network of free trade areas,” he said.