China has many existing trade agreements between many nations of the world. In fact, China likely has a trade deal with every major global trading partner. After being admitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Chinese trade agreements became simpler by allowing existing WTO regulations to define many aspects of Chinese trade agreements. Even so, trade agreements with certain partners can indicate the general types of agreements China has signed.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) successfully negotiated the ascension of China to the WTO in 1991. The WTO is an international trade and rule organization that regulates trade between nations. The function of the WTO is to lower trade barriers, usually in the form tariffs or import duties, to lower the cost of importing goods in the interest of trade facilitation. China's joining of the WTO meant that many separately negotiated trade agreements were replace in whole or in part by WTO regulations.
Agreements with Trading Blocks
China often negotiates trade agreements either in addition to or outside of WTO regulations. However, if these agreements are with WTO member nations, they can not violate WTO trade regulations. China can also negotiate trade agreements with groups of nations, like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The 2009 extension of the 2005 trade agreement removed tariffs on 90 percent of goods. It requires duties on highly sensitive items to be reduced to no more than 50 percent by 2015.
USA - China Trade Agreement
China signed a separate trade agreement with the United States in 1999. This agreement lowered the average tariff on U.S. agricultural goods going to China to around 14.5 percent while setting the average tariff for Chinese agricultural goods moving to the U.S. at 17 percent. The agreement established a Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ), a way of limiting imports of certain products like wheat, corn, cotton, barley and rice, which reserves a portion of the quotas for private import-export companies.
New Zealand - China Trade Agreement
In 2008, China inked a trade agreement with New Zealand. In this agreement, New Zealand agreed to remove all tariffs on Chinese goods by 2016. At the time of the signing of the trade agreement, New Zealand imposed no tariffs on 95.5 percent of Chinese goods, but imposed some tariffs on major Chinese exports like clothing, textiles and shoes. In exchange, China will reduce or eliminate tariffs on major New Zealand exports like milk, dairy products, and wool.
Canada - China Trade Agreement
In 1999, Canada signed a trade agreement with China that reduced tariffs on many Canadian exports to China, including communication equipment, airplanes and aircraft parts, canola oil, and paper products. Duties on Chinese goods entering Canada fell from around 12.5 percent to about 5 percent. This agreement was signed as part of the successful Chinese effort to gain WTO admittance.