China has made strides in expanding the network of free trade areas (FTAs) in 2017.
The country has signed two new free trade agreements this year, taking the total number of FTAs to 16, benefiting 24 countries and regions, said Zhang Shaogang, an official at the Ministry of Commerce.
"The next year will be a year of bumper harvest for FTA development, as there will be negotiations on 10 new FTAs and a joint feasibility study of another 10 FTAs," Zhang said.
Zhang also expects solid progress to be achieved on the negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, an FTA scheme of the 10 ASEAN member states and its six FTA partners - China, Australia, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand.
"China has vowed to open wider to the world, and accelerating the development of FTAs will be a crucial part of the country's opening-up," said Bai Ming, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.