China is in talks to form a free-trade agreement with the Middle East. Representatives from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar met with Chinese commerce and finance ministry officials in Beijing to sign a framework economic cooperation agreement and discuss trade issues. China created a free-trade area with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2003 and is currently in trade talks with New Zealand, Australia, Chile and South Africa. Analysts said a free trade agreement with the Middle East would make China's energy supply more secure.
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