Vice-Premier Han Zheng attended and addressed the opening ceremony of the 15th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on Sept 12.
“Relations between China and ASEAN have stood the test of time and become the most successful and dynamic example of Asia-Pacific regional cooperation,” Han said.
China has been the largest trading partner of ASEAN for nine consecutive years and ASEAN has been the third largest trade partner of China for seven consecutive years, according to Han.
Han said China is willing to make full use of platforms such as the upcoming China International Import Expo and China-ASEAN Expo to expand imports from ASEAN member states and encourage bilateral investment.
“China is willing to promote the implementation of the upgraded China-ASEAN FTA and accelerate the negotiation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on the basis of mutual benefit and win-win outcomes,” Han said.
Han’s proposal to promote trade and investment was echoed by senior officials from the ASEAN member states.
“Due to protectionist policies of some countries, the world economy is facing pressing challenges and trade frictions have arisen,” said Lao Deputy Prime Minister Somdy Duangdy.
“It is time we made efforts to maximize the benefits of the China-ASEAN FTA, by lowering or abolishing tariffs, and strengthening cooperation, in a bid to create new opportunities for trade and investment between the two sides,” said Somdy.
“Cooperation between China and ASEAN continues to prosper despite the uncertainties, challenges, and risks in the global economy,” said Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue.
“Such cooperation is not only mutually beneficial, it is also the highlight and positive driving force of the growth of global economy, trade, and investment,” he said.