Free trade agreements are still being negotiated with Australia, which have been dragging on for several years due to concerns from Australia`s agricultural industry, but which can be concluded in 2014. Norway also negotiates and is a member of EFTA with Iceland and Switzerland. The Norway-China free trade agreement has been under negotiation since 2008, but, as in Australia, there is hope that it can be ratified before the end of the year. China is also negotiating the free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council, a political and economic union of six Arab states bordering the Persian Gulf – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. All six are oil exporters and are an important bloc for China. President Xi was directly involved in these negotiations and insisted that they be resolved as soon as possible. China has 11 free trade agreements in force, three of which are under negotiation and three others are under consideration. Many of them are relatively small, although they are useful for companies in the countries that have them, Chile, Costa Rice, Iceland and Peru. The Pakistani agreement is often used in bilateral Sino-pak relations, which are obviously strong, with Pakistan being the main beneficiary of Chinese foreign investment in Southeast Asia, while China also has an interesting free trade agreement with Switzerland, signed in the middle of last year and expected to come into force later in 2014. In particular, Switzerland is not a member of the EU, although it is a member of the European Free Trade Association and has a bilateral agreement with the European Union. Switzerland is one of the few European countries to benefit from a trade surplus with China, and the agreement was China`s first with a continental nation.
Switzerland`s trade surplus with China amounted to about $23 billion in 2012, thanks in part to sales of luxury goods such as watches and chemicals. One of the big winners of the agreement was Nestlé, which, as part of the agreement on reducing consumer prices in China, will pass on the savings needed to make its products more competitive. “While the United States is currently focusing on domestic policy issues, including the need to fight the pandemic and rebuild its economy and infrastructure, I`m not sure the rest of the world is waiting for America to get its home back in order,” said Jennifer Hillman, senior trade and international political economy official at the Council on Foreign Relations. “I think there needs to be reactivity measures for what China is doing.” The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) came into force on December 20, 2015. Australian Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb, a signatory to ChAFTA, said: “This historic agreement with our largest trading partner will support future economic growth, job creation and a higher standard of living by increasing trade in goods and services and investment. China, with its 1.4 billion people and rapidly growing middle class, offers Australian businesses huge opportunities for the future. It is not clear how the United States will respond to the new trade pact. As Biden takes office in January, trade and China have become difficult problems.
Since the implementation of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement, companies in both countries have been offered more business and comfort opportunities, and consumers in both countries have more benefits. Bilateral trade continued to grow rapidly, growing from $6.9 billion in 2007 to $16 billion in 2014, with annual growth of about 15.3%. An Introduction to Tax Treaties Across Asia In this issue of Asia Briefing Magazine, we examine the different types of trade and tax agreements that exist between Asian nations. These include bilateral investment agreements, bilateral double taxation agreements and free trade agreements that cover all companies directly active in Asia. Negotiations on the