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Official: Chinese modernization to provide new opportunities for ASEAN countries

Xinhua | August 25, 2023


China is promoting Chinese modernization with high-quality development, which will bring new opportunities for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, an official said Friday.

Vice Minister of Commerce Li Fei told a press conference that China and ASEAN have upgraded economic and trade cooperation in recent years and achieved fruitful results.

"As the dividends from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) continue to emerge, the construction of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA) is forging ahead, which will cement the roles of China and ASEAN as each other's largest trading partner," Li said.

In 2022, the bilateral trade increased 11.2 percent year on year to 975.3 billion U.S. dollars, up significantly from 443.6 billion dollars a decade ago. By July this year, two-way investments topped 380 billion dollars, with an increasing number of Chinese-funded companies and jointly-developed innovation parks.

Li said the two sides are actively pushing forward the negotiation of version 3.0 of the China-ASEAN FTA to promote a higher level of opening up.

In the latest efforts to deepen cooperation, the 20th China-ASEAN Expo will be held from Sept. 16 to 19 in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

As of now, nearly 1,700 enterprises, including many Global Fortune 500 companies, and delegations from over 40 countries and regions, will participate in the event. In the period, more than 70 economic and trade promotion activities will be held to strengthen cooperation.

Digital economy, green development, stable industrial and supply chains, and trade and investment facilitation will be among the key topics. The exhibition will set up special areas for digital technologies, listed companies, industrial design, and intelligent agriculture.

At Friday's press conference, Sui Guohua, vice chair of the regional government of Guangxi, estimated that investment agreements worth over 400 billion yuan (55.65 billion U.S. dollars) will be inked during the expo, with the manufacturing cooperation accounting for over 40 percent of the total.

Since the first China-ASEAN Expo was held in 2004, the event has become an important cooperation platform and has played a positive role in regional economic integration.

Looking ahead, Li said China will expand win-win cooperation with ASEAN countries on all fronts, upgrade economic and trade cooperation, and jointly promote the building of an even closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future.

Efforts will be made to increase the trade volume with strengthened Belt and Road cooperation and to promote two-way investments in areas including petrochemicals, steel, automobiles, and textiles. Connectivity will be pushed forward to bolster regional development and benefit more people, according to Li.

The vice minister also stressed the high-quality implementation of the RCEP and vowed to accelerate the negotiation of version 3.0 of the China-ASEAN FTA.