Deal inked with Eurasian Eco­nomic Union

China Daily - - BUSINESS - By JING SHUIYU and ZHONG NAN Con­tact the writ­ers at jing­shuiyu@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China and mem­ber coun­tries of the Eurasian Eco­nomic Union on Thurs­day signed an agree­ment in As­tana, Kaza­khstan, to cut trade bar­ri­ers and fa­cil­i­tate eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties, said the Min­istry of Com­merce.

The min­istry said this is the first institutional ar­range­ment rep­re­sent­ing a new stage of en­hanced co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two sides.

The eco­nomic and trade agree­ment cov­ers 13 chap­ters, rang­ing from cus­toms co­op­er­a­tion and trade fa­cil­i­ta­tion, in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights, to gov­ern­ment pro­cure­ment, with new top­ics in­clud­ing ecom­merce and mar­ket com­pe­ti­tion, ac­cord­ing to the min­istry.

The Eurasian Eco­nomic Union was founded by the lead­ers of Rus­sia, Be­larus and Kaza­khstan in May 2014. The treaty of the union came into force in 2015, when Ar­me­nia and Kyr­gyzs­tan joined the bloc.

Fu Ziy­ing, vice-min­is­ter of com­merce and China’s in­ter­na­tional trade rep­re­sen­ta­tive, signed the deal with of­fi­cials from the union and all mem­ber coun­tries.

The two sides will step up their do­mes­tic pro­ce­dures, aim­ing for the deal go into ef­fect in early 2019, the min­istry said in a state­ment.

The min­istry said the agree­ment aims to fur­ther re­duce non-tar­iff trade bar­ri­ers, im­prove trade fa­cil­i­ta­tion, while cre­at­ing a fa­vor­able en­vi­ron­ment for in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment and boost­ing China’s eco­nomic and trade re­la­tions with Eurasian Eco­nomic Union and its mem­ber coun­tries.

Zhou Shi­jian, an eco­nomics pro­fes­sor at Ts­inghua Uni­ver­sity in Bei­jing, said even though many parts of the world are still hav­ing trou­ble with uni­lat­er­al­ism and trade pro­tec­tion­ism, China and the five-na­tion union have reached broad con­sen­sus on Eurasian eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion.

“The agree­ment will help the six coun­tries better shape the ‘dock­ing’ of the fast-grow­ing Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive,” he said.

The deal will ef­fec­tively op­ti­mize the trade struc­ture and cul­ti­vate new growth points for eco­nomic ad­vance­ment and in­creased em­ploy­ment be­tween China and the union’s mem­bers, es­pe­cially in the ar­eas of en­ergy, road lo­gis­tics, light in­dus­try, re­gional avi­a­tion and rail­way net­work de­vel­op­ment, said Xue Rongjiu, deputy di­rec­tor of the Bei­jing-based China So­ci­ety for WTO Stud­ies.

“The sign­ing of the agree­ment will also be con­ducive to the set­ting up of mech­a­nisms to fa­cil­i­tate trade and to draw up poli­cies in ar­eas of com­mon in­ter­est, such as jointly es­tab­lish­ing in­dus­trial parks, agri­cul­tural projects, in­fra­struc­ture fa­cil­i­ties and cross-bor­der eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion zones,” he said.

The Min­istry of Com­merce also an­nounced on Thurs­day at a reg­u­lar news con­fer­ence that China’s non­fi­nan­cial out­bound di­rect in­vest­ment surged 34.9 per­cent year-on-year in the first four months of the year.

Do­mes­tic in­vestors made $35.58 bil­lion of non­fi­nan­cial in­vest­ment in 2,459 over­seas busi­nesses in 144 coun­tries and re­gions be­tween Jan­uary and April.

ODI in economies par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive rose 17.3 per­cent from a year ear­lier to $4.67 bil­lion dur­ing the first four months.

ODI mainly flowed into sec­tors in­clud­ing leas­ing, busi­ness ser­vices, min­ing, and man­u­fac­tur­ing, the data showed. No new in­vest­ments were made in the prop­erty, sports and en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­tries.

The sign­ing of the agree­ment will also be con­ducive to the set­ting up of mech­a­nisms to fa­cil­i­tate trade and to draw up poli­cies in ar­eas of com­mon in­ter­est.”

Xue Rongjiu, deputy di­rec­tor of the Bei­jing-based China So­ci­ety for WTO Stud­ies

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