China and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will start negotiations on an economic partnership agreement (EPA) as soon as possible, Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said in Ufa Friday. [Special coverage]
Gao made the announcement when talking at a press briefing about the conjunction of China's Silk Road Economic Belt initiative and the EAEU's development strategies.
During the EPA talks, the two sides will align their rules, mechanisms and cooperation areas, said the minister, adding that they will give full play to the roles of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as a link and a platform.
At the briefing, held in the wake of the seventh summit of the emerging-market grouping of BRICS -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- and the 15th SCO summit, Gao also spoke highly of the major results of the two meetings.
He noted that as far as economy and trade are concerned, the principal outcome of the BRICS summit is the release of the BRICS economic partnership strategy, which lists eight key areas of cooperation, including trade, investment, manufacturing, energy and finance.
The BRICS countries also pledged to support multilateral trade systems and reject trade protectionism, and comprehensively launched e-commerce cooperation among them, he added.
On the SCO summit, Gao said one of the main results is that joint construction of the China-proposed Silk Road Economic Belt has become an important part of regional cooperation.
Meanwhile, the start of enlargement will further expand SCO cooperation, and the organization's openness and inclusiveness have increased with the alignment and integration of the various development strategies in the region, he added.
Gao also laid emphasis on the four-point proposal Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward on boosting regional economic and trade cooperation.
In his proposal, Xi said China stands ready to boost cooperation with its partners on regional connectivity, production capacity, investment and financing, and capacity building.
Xi's suggestions, Gao noted, drew enthusiastic support from all other participating countries.