Interview: China-ASEAN FTA to make regional trade leap

13:12, December 24, 2009      

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The establishment of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA) is expected to help the bilateral trade between the two sides grow by leaps and bounds, a leading Malaysian businessman said here recently.

The FTA will also promote the economic integration in the region to go forward rapidly, said Yong Ah Pwi, President of Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce, in an interview with Xinhua.

Yong said the full formation of the FTA is crucial to China and the ASEAN (Association of the Southeast Asian Nations) member countries as it will promote the movement of goods and services, and increase bilateral trade significantly thanks to the simplified import and export procedures.

China is a large market, the ASEAN countries can export both products and raw materials to the market, Yong said.

He highlighted the duty-free policies which are stipulated in the China-ASEAN FTA. He said the policies will allow China to purchase goods conveniently and economically from the ASEAN countries.

This will in turn boost production in the region, strengthen the viability of the ASEAN economic development and benefit the residents of the ASEAN countries, Yong added.

As to the investment environment in China, Yong said optimistically that the world has focused on the Chinese market as it is not only large, but also has ample supply of trained human resources.

Yong also pointed out that the advancement in technologies has helped Chinese manufacturers realize larger output.

He said China and ASEAN are complementing each other in trade, which results in speedy growth in bilateral trade between China and the ASEAN countries, especially Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

The complete establishment of the China-ASEAN FTA on Jan. 1 next year will bring the ties between China and the ASEAN closer and create more business opportunities in Malaysia.

Yong stressed that China and ASEAN member countries can fully utilize their advantages to complement each other by investing in each country and strengthening their cooperation.

For example, Yong said China has mastered good technologies and possessed a large amount of capital, professionals as well as research and development capabilities, while Malaysia is rich in natural resources and raw materials.

In that case, China can set up plants in Malaysia, make use of the resources here and market their products abroad from Malaysia, Yong said.

While the investors from China can save logistics cost of raw materials and resources, Malaysia is successful in attracting foreign investment and generating a win-win situation, explained Yong.

Yong said the integrated development of regional economy is as important while the world economy is being further globalized.

As a result, various FTAs have been established around the world, including the North America FTA and the European Union, which helps promote economic integration, said Yong.

Yong added that he is confident with the development of the China-ASEAN FTA. He said the FTA's fast growing momentum will drive it towards a major economic bloc in the world.

Established in 1990, the Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce is a non-government and non-profit business organization.

It is aimed at promoting bilateral economy, trade, investment, and business communication and development between Malaysia and China.

Currently, it has over 1,000 member companies from the sectors of trade, manufacturing, finance, agriculture and others.

Source: Xinhua
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