02:55 GMT03 March 2021
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    The comments come after China and the European Union (EU) inked a major Comprehensive Trade Agreement (CTA) in late December in what is widely reported as the largest bilateral trade agreement between economic powers in history.

    Beijing plans to boost its network of free trade agreements with international partners to promote investment globally, Gao Feng, Ministry of Commerce spokesman told the press on Thursday as quoted by the Global Times.

    China will aim to expand its network to numerous countries and organisations, including Norway, Israel and the Gulf Cooperation Council, Gao told reporters.

    The spokesman added China would actively consider joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

    "Meanwhile, we will step up efforts to enhance the levels of present FTAs by actively exploring free trade rules that are integrated into international common rules while in line with our own need for reform and development," he told reporters.

    China would also aim to improve the proportion of zero tariff goods, relax access in its services trade and investment sectors, as well as hold talks on rules in the nation's digital economy and environmental protection, he added.

    MOFCOM would also boost training for previously signed FTAs to benefit individuals and businesses, he said.

    Gao concluded that China's ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was moving along as expected and should be completed in six months.

    China also struck the 15-member RCEP trade deal with countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and others, on 15 November and began ratifying the $26.2tn trade deal - the world's largest trade agreement in history - in December last year.

    The news comes after US president Joe Biden was inaugurated on Wednesday, who will face former US president Donald Trump's contentious trade war with Beijing, and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which Trump accused China and the World Health Organisation (WHO) of covering up last year, souring ties between Beijing and Washington to new lows.


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    MOFCOM, Chinese Foreign Ministry, free trade agreement, Regional Cooperative Economic Partnership (RCEP), Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), European Union (EU), China
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