Last Thursday China and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) inked a trade and economic cooperation agreement, which is expected to take effect as early as 2019. Negotiations between both parties started in May 2015.

According to Kazakhstan’s Minister of National Economy Timur Suleimenov, “The agreement is non-preferential by nature and does not imply cancellation of duties or automatic reduction of non-tariff barriers. At the same time, the agreement will make [it] possible to improve conditions for access of goods to the China market, through norms for simplification of trade procedures present in the document, [and] increase the transparency level and improve the level of interaction across all spheres of trade cooperation.”

Once the agreement takes effect, it will be possible to transport goods from China via train through Kazakhstan, Russia, and Belarus directly to the borders of the EU under one common agreement. Of course, this means better access to the China market for EAEU members. But it also means that the EU will have better, and more cost-efficient, access to the Chinese-consumer market. The agreement covers 13 aspects such as customs cooperation, trade facilitation, intellectual property rights, sectoral cooperation, and government procurement, as well as new topics like e-commerce and competition.

Would you like to learn more about this agreement? Visit Xinhuanet News and China Briefing.