A key feature of the agreement is the non-maintenance of quantitative restrictions and the removal of non-tariff barriers.  Removing these trade barriers will reduce the costs of trade transactions, further increase ASEAN-China trade and improve economic efficiency. Because, under the free trade agreement, low-priced imports go from one member to another, production specializes, which increases real incomes in both ASEAN and China, with resources allocated to sectors where they can be used more efficiently and productively. As more and more countries appear to be opting for increasing protectionism, the Southeast Asian region and China are actively developing stronger regional and global trade and investment relationships. The framework agreement was signed by eleven heads of government on 4 November 2002 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. : Hassanal Bolkiah (Sultan of Brunei Darussalam), Hun Sen (Prime Minister of Cambodia), Megawati Soekarnoputri (President of Indonesia), Bounnhang Vorachith (Prime Minister of Laos), Mahathir bin Mohamad (Prime Minister of Malaysia), Than Shwe (Prime Minister Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (President of the Philippines), Goh Chok Tong (Prime Minister of Singapore), Thaksin Shinawatra (Prime Minister of Thailand), Phan Ven Khi (Prime Minister of Vietnam), Zhu Rongji (Prime Minister of the State Council of the People`s Republic of China).   China first proposed the idea of a free trade area in November 2000. The leaders of ASEAN and China therefore decided to discuss economic integration measures in the region the following year In Brunei, they supported the creation of an ASEAN-China free trade area.  In addition, China and ASEAN are also working quickly to conclude the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, which is expected to promote economic and trade integration between ASEAN members and their six trading partners: China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India. In addition, China`s share of ASEAN`s total trade rose from 2.1% in 1994 to 7% in 2003, making China ASEAN`s fourth largest trading partner after the European Union (11.5%), Japan (13.7%) 2000. United States of America (14%).
ACFTA, launched on January 1, 2010, provided the necessary platform for deepening economic engagement. Economic relations intensified following the signing of the framework agreement and the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement in 2004, which provides a solid basis for increased trade and investment flows between ASEAN and China. This ACFTA for goods would soon be complemented by services and investments, with aggressive monitoring of negotiations on these relevant areas in 2005. In addition to the Trade in Goods Agreement, ASEAN and China signed the Trade in Services Agreement (ACTISA) on 14 January 2007 for the first package of specific commitments and on 16 November 2011 for the second package of specific commitments. Both packages provide for the extension of services exchanges, with better market access and treatment in sectors/sub-sectors where commitments have been made. The agreement excludes the liberalisation of procurement and government-related services. The ASEAN-China Investment Agreement was signed on 15 August 2009 and came into force on 1 January 2010. It aims to create an environment conducive to investors and their investments from ASEAN and China and thus establishes essential safeguards that ensure fair and equitable treatment of investors, non-discriminatory treatment in the event of nationalisation or expropriation, and compensation for losses.