A high-level delegation from ASEAN led by the Honourable Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng, Second Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Darussalam visited China from 22-25 October to further enhance trade and investment relations between the two sides. The delegation comprised of Economic Ministers from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam and senior officials from ASEAN Member States. The delegation visited Hong Kong, Chengdu, Shanghai, and Beijing. The delegation called on H.E. Li Keqiang, the Premier of People’s Republic of China. The delegation also met with high-level Chinese officials, including H.E. Gao HuCheng, Minister of Commerce; H.E. Gan Lin, Vice Governor of Sichuan Province Government; H.E. Yang Xiong, Mayor of Shanghai; and H.E. Leung Chun Ying, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
The delegation further participated in a number of trade and investment symposium; visited Tak Cruise Terminal in Hong Kong, China; Chengdu Tianfu Software Park; Shanghai Stock Exchange; Shanghai General Motors Corporation and Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone; and held consultations with the private sector. The delegation attended a dinner hosted by H.E. Wang Yang, Vice Premier of People’s Republic of China.
The total trade between ASEAN and China reached US$ 319 billion in 2012, which represents an average annual growth rate of 20% since 2002. China is ASEAN’s largest trading partner, while ASEAN has been China’s third largest trading partner since 2010. During the 16th ASEAN-China Summit held in Brunei Darussalam on 10 October 2013, the Leaders agreed to work towards achieving two-way trade of US$ 500 billion by 2015 and US$ 1 trillion by 2020, and two-way investment of US$ 150 billion in the next eight years.
“The Ministers were pleased with the Roadshow which will pave the way for the realization of trade and investment targets set by the Leaders. The Ministers also reiterated their commitment for timely realisation of an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015 which will create a single market and production base for the private sector to expand existing or establish new operations in the region,” said Mr. Lim Hong Hin, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community.
On October 25, Gao Hucheng, Chinese Minister of Commerce, and ASEAN Economic and Trade Ministers who came to China for Road Show, met the press. Members of ASEAN delegation include Boonsong Teriyapirom, Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Ministry of Thailand, the second minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Bruni, Cambodian Minister of Commerce, Minister of Industry and Trade of Laos, Minister of National Plan and Development of Burma, Minister of Trade and Industry of Philippines, Minister of Trade and Industry of Vietnamese, Senior Minister of Trade and Industry of Singapore, Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN, Ambassador in China of Indonesia, and Ambassador in China of Malaysia.
Gao Hucheng introduced the economic and trade cooperation between China and ASEAN. He said that, taking advantage of the building and development of FTZ, the bilateral economic and trade cooperation between China and ASEAN has gained fruitful achievements in recent years. China is the largest trade partner of ASEAN, and ASEAN is China’s third largest trade partner. In the year of 2012, the total volume of bilateral trade reached US＄400.1 billion, 7.3 times than that of 10 years ago. From January to September in 2013, the volume of import and export of China and ASEAN reached US＄322.36 billion, up by 11.6%. Mutual investment is fruitful. China is the fourth largest source of foreign investment of ASEAN, and ASEAN is the third largest source of foreign investment of China. As of August 2013, mutual investment of China and ASEAN has accumulated to $110 billion.
Gao Hucheng put forward three proposals on strengthening China-ASEAN cooperation. 1. Start the upgraded negotiation of China-ASEAN FTZ as soon as possible. During the East Asia Leaders’ Meetings held early this month, Premier Li Keqiang proposed to forge an upgraded China-ASEAN FTZ, which is favorably received by ASEAN countries. China is willing to start the upgraded negotiation of China-ASEAN FTZ with ASEAN as soon as possible, substantially promoting trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and making China-ASEAN FTZ a high-quality Free Trade Agreement more comprehensive, which can reflect characteristics of the times, and benefit enterprises and people of both Parties on a larger scale. 2. Advance the infrastructure construction of interconnection and interworking, further broaden financing channel for cooperative projects, and implement the proposal of President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang for setting up Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, providing financing platform for ASEAN countries, and making common efforts to promote financing capacity in an open manner. 3. Strengthen the cooperation in regional economic integration. China supports ASEAN’s leading role in East Asia Cooperation, and is willing to support ASEAN from all aspects, steadily promote regional economic cooperation in sub-regions like Greater Mekon and Pan-Beibu Gulf, support the timely conclusion of RCEP negotiation, and create favorable environments for East Asia cooperation through common efforts.
On behalf of ASEAN ministers, Boonsong Teriyapirom said that, this year’s Road Show in China is an important function to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of China-ASEAN strategic partnership. During the Road Show, ASEAN economic and trade ministers were honored to have the opportunities to talk with China’s Minister of Commerce on trade policies and bilateral cooperation, and exchange with principals of related provinces and cities and Chinese entrepreneurs on trade and investment. We believe that the Road Show will help Chinese entrepreneurs better understand ASEAN’s trade and investment policies and opportunities. We also believe that, the goals put forward by leaders of the two Parties that the volume of bilateral trade reach US＄500 billion up to 2015, and US＄1 trillion up to 2020, and mutual investment grew US＄150 billion in the future 8 years, will certainly be realized.
Source: Ministry of Commerce Website; http://english.mofcom.gov.cn/article/newsrelease/significantnews/201310/20131000369105.shtml; http://www.asean.org/news/asean-secretariat-news/item/asean-economic-ministers-conclude-roadshow-in-china-to-enhance-trade-and-investment