MOFCOM: Fully Promoting the Process of Joining CPTPP and DEPA

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) held a regular press conference on September 9 to respond to recent economic and trade hotspots.

He Yadong, spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, introduced that China has formally applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) in September and November 2021, and has been actively promoting the relevant processes. Regarding the CPTPP, China has conducted in-depth and comprehensive analysis, research and evaluation of all the provisions of the agreement, sorted out the reform initiatives that may need to be taken and the laws and regulations that need to be modified, and has taken the initiative to control the early and pilot implementation of the agreement in the conditional Pilot Free Trade Zones (PFTZs) and Hainan Free Trade Port (FTP). Currently, the Chinese side is following the accession procedures, communication and consultation with members.

“Regarding DEPA, on August 18, 2022, the member parties set up a working group on China’s accession to fully launch the negotiations. At present, the Chinese side is having in-depth exchanges with members on issues related to the agreement, and has held two ministerial meetings, three chief negotiator meetings and three technical consultations, with overall positive progress. At the same time, a number of places within China are taking the initiative to dock DEPA and explore pragmatic cooperation in related areas with member parties.” He Yadong said.

He Yadong said that the Ministry of Commerce will fully listen to and sort out the opinions and suggestions of foreign enterprises and foreign business associations on the basis of promoting the competent authorities of various industries to further rationalize the reduction of the Pilot Free Trade Zone negative list of foreign investment access to assess the demonstration, and at the same time, together with the relevant departments to speed up the development and introduction of the national version and the Pilot Free Trade Zone version of the negative list of cross-border trade in services, to lead the country to continue to expand opening up.

He Yadong also mentioned at the conference that recently, under the joint efforts of both sides, China and Australia have made positive progress on a series of economic and trade issues. This shows that as long as both sides move forward in the right direction, they can properly resolve their respective economic and trade concerns and develop bilateral economic and trade relations.

“We are willing to work with the Australian side to actively implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, give full play to the potential of the China-Australia FTA, expand cooperation in emerging areas such as climate change and the green economy, and provide a favorable business environment for enterprises from both countries to invest and operate.” He Yadong said.