JAKARTA — Welcoming the commencement of regional integrated economy society of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) regime slated for later this year, an initiative to foster production capacity cooperation between ASEAN and China was sought to further expand economy and trade ties between the two economies.
The thought to further explore the cooperation was highlighted at a high level forum discussing future relations of AEC and China in production capacity cooperation held in Jakarta on Sept 25, attended by senior figures and stakeholders of the two economies.
“The AEC would serve as a huge economic regime that provides enormous opportunities and deepen economic and trade relations, especially cooperation in production capacity between ASEAN and China,” Chinese Ambassador to ASEAN Xu Bu said in his remarks to open the forum.
The AEC regime would integrate all ten country members of Southeast Asian politics and economy bloc as a single community that has single market, aimed at inclusively improving economy, competitiveness and development among member countries.
With total population of more than 600 million, average at productive ages, the AEC promises lucrative business for economy entities willing to establish cooperation with. The bloc has been seeing positive economic growth amid global economy slowdown in the last few years.
He said that China has been the largest economic and trade partner to ASEAN in the last four consecutive years with two-way trade recorded at $483 billion as of last year and targeted at $500 billion this year.
He added that deliberations on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between ASEAN and China was underway at the moment and expected to be settled by the end of the year. Should the FTA between the two economies was approved, two-way trade between China and ASEAN would be targeted to reach $1 trillion by 2020, he said.
According to the ambassador, production capacity cooperation has been partially applied with Singapore and Thailand. The one established with Singapore since 1994 was formed in Suzhou Industrial Park, highly expected as the model of similar cooperation with AEC in the future.
China has prepared mechanism to support possible production capacity cooperation with AEC with its Maritime Silk Road initiative, enabling the two economies to have excellent distribution and transportation of resources to boost up the cooperation.
The idea to establish production capacity cooperation between AEC and China was hailed by a senior Indonesian official, saying that ASEAN and China should cooperate closer and develop new strategy to face the challenges together.
“With 620 million population in ASEAN with medium age of 28 years old, AEC provides demographic bonus to the cooperation, particularly in terms of work forces and product consumers. ASEAN is the right place to cooperate with,” Director General of the Resilience and Development of International Industry Access at Indonesia’s Industry ministry Ahmad Sigit Dwiwahjono said in his remarks.
Ahmad said that China’s excellent scale of economy, political and economy stability and high-skilled work forces could be used to further strengthen the economy cooperation.
For Indonesia, such a cooperation was highly expected to narrow the deficit of its trade with China. He said that trade ties between Indonesia and China has been demonstrating positive trend with 6.65 percent growth was seen from 2010 to 2014.
Indonesia has 40 percent of ASEAN population estimated in 2015, besides that, the largest economy in Southeast Asia boasts various kinds of natural resources from oil, gas, gold, copper and coal.
He said that the current government was determent to see significant improvement from investment sector, adding that government has simplified regulations and procedure to invest.