On December 7, 2017, witnessed by President Xi Jinping and Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, China International Trade Representative (ministerial level) and Vice Minister of Commerce Fu Ziying and Maldivian Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed, on behalf of their own government, signed the Free Trade Agreement between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Maldives at the Great Hall of the People.

China-Maldives FTA is the 16th FTA China has ever signed, and it is Maldives's first bilateral FTA with a foreign country. The signing of this agreement is the latest achievement of "promoting the construction of Free Trade Areas and an open world economy" put forward at the 19th CPC National Congress as well as a significant move to consolidate and strengthen the two countries' all-round and friendly cooperative partnership facing the future. This has set an example of the two countries' mutually beneficial cooperation with extreme scale differences, a milestone in their own trade and economic histories. This will powerfully promote the bilateral trade and economic relations to achieve greater development.

China-Maldives FTA negotiations started in December 2015 and ended in September 2017. The agreement covers trade in goods, trade in services, investment and economic and technical cooperation and meets the all-round, high-level, mutually beneficial and win-win negotiation goal. This agreement will provide solid institutional guarantee for the liberalization and facilitation of bilateral trade and investment and will help promote the deepening of the two sides' practical cooperation in related areas and constantly enhance the wellbeing of the two countries' enterprises and people.

In terms of trade in goods, the agreed zero-tariff products and their import amount of the two sides both account for near 96%. Most of China's industrial products and agricultural products such as flowers, plants and vegetables exported to Maldives will benefit from this. Maldives' most superior export products such as aquatic products will also enjoy zero tariff. In terms of trade in services, both sides will further open their service departments based on their WTO commitment. In terms of investment, they have promised to give the other side's investors and their investment post-establishment national treatment and the-most-favored-nation treatment in order to encourage mutual investment and provide convenience and effective protection. At the same time they reached broad consensuses in origin rules, customs procedures and trade facilitation, trade remedy, technical trade barriers as well as sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

After signing the agreement, the two countries will follow the related domestic procedures. The agreement will come into force and its preferential policies will benefit the two countries' enterprises and people as soon as possible.


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