China-ASEAN FTA to boost intra-regional trade: business leader

11:20, January 01, 2010      

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The establishment of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA), which will be effective on Jan. 1, 2010, is a win-win outcome and will no doubt boost intra-regional trade, a well-known Singapore business leader has said.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Phua Kok Khoo, president of Singapore-China business association, hailed the FTA between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a good event for both sides, saying that after the launch of the FTA, which took eight years in the making, trade between the 10-member regional bloc and China will be more liberal and convenient.

The environment for investments from both sides will be further improved while ASEAN countries and China's trade partnership will surely be more closer, he said.

Phua believes that China-ASEAN FTA, the world's biggest with a population of 1.9 billion and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) close to 6 trillion U.S. dollars, will not only help ASEAN and China to grow, but also help the rest of Asia and the world to grow as a whole.

The ASEAN countries each have their different resource and industrial advantages, and the FTA will give impetus to maximize their advantages, he said, adding that the countries like Singapore can make use of its geographical, investment and operating advantages to serve as a bridge to help enterprises from China and other ASEAN countries to achieve internationalized development and better market their enterprises.

Phua stressed that since the completion of the FTA, ASEAN and China should continue to strengthen their economic, trade and investment links, and try hard to explore newer and freer cooperation system.

Meanwhile, the enterprises from ASEAN and China should seize the opportunity to well develop themselves by making better use of the preferential policies provided by the FTA, which is mutually beneficial for both sides, he said.

He suggested that ASEAN and China should further develop the depth and width of their cooperation through the FTA.

Both sides should work out a long-term strategy to sustainable develop their existing industrials and actively seek fresh cooperation fields, he added.

Source: Xinhua
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