NAY PYI TAW -- Southeast Asian countries hope to achieve the two-way trade goal with China of $500 billion by 2015 and $1 trillion by 2020, as well as two-way investment of $150 billion by 2020.
In a chairman’s statement issued after the 17th leaders’ meeting between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries and China, the ASEAN underscored the value of regional economic integration and an encouraging process toward further trade liberalization, including the upgrading of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA).
China has been the ASEAN’s largest trading partner since 2009, and the ASEAN has been China’s third largest trading partner since 2011. According to ASEAN statistics, two-way trade volume reached $350.5 billion in 2013, accounting for 14 percent of the ASEAN’s total trade and representing an increase of 9.7 percent year-on-year.
The ASEAN also highlighted the progress of negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which would build upon the ASEAN Plus One Free Trade Agreements, including the ACFTA.
The ASEAN said the RCEP will further contribute to economic integration and equitable economic development, and strengthen economic cooperation among participating countries.
The ASEAN countries agreed to actively accelerate negotiations for the RCEP for greater economic integration in East Asia.
Myanmar President U Thein Sein, whose country holds the rotating chair of the ASEAN this year, presided over meeting in the Myanmar capital of Nay Pyi Taw, which was attended by leaders of ASEAN countries and Premier Li Keqiang.