ASEAN now China's 4th biggest trading partner

14:38, July 26, 2010      

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China-ASEAN trade volume reached 136.5 billion U.S. dollars in the first half of the year, up 55 percent year on year, making ASEAN China's fourth biggest trading partner, said Gao Hucheng, vice minister of commerce, in a press conference Monday.

Gao said that the establishment of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area on Jan. 1 was a major milestone for regional economic integration indicating that bilateral economic and trade relations have entered a new stage.

And the establishment of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area has brought real benefits for enterprises and people of both sides, said Gao.

First, bilateral trade and investment in China and ASEAN have witnessed rapid growth. The bilateral trade volume reached 136.5 billion U.S. dollars, up 55 percent year on year, 11 percent higher than the growth rate of China's imports and exports during the same period.

China's imports from ASEAN hit nearly 72 billion U.S. dollars, increasing by 64 percent, and China's exports to ASEAN hit 64.6 billion U.S. dollars, increasing by 45 percent, which means ASEAN has become China's fourth biggest trade partner.

ASEAN-China investment cooperation has seen huge gains. ASEAN's actual annual investment in China grew from 2.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2003 to 4.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2009. During that same period, China's investment in ASEAN grew from 230 million U.S. dollars to 3 billion U.S. dollars, a 13-fold increase.

As of the end of June, the cumulative investment on both sides hit about 69.4 billion U.S. dollars, with ASEAN investing 59.8 billion in China and China investing 9.6 billion in ASEAN.

The economic benefits for both sides have also increased significantly. The Chinese government has reduced tariffs on the import of goods from the ASEAN nations by 6.1 billion yuan (about 900 million US dollars).China's direct investment in ASEAN has seen rapid growth in many fields, including agricultural, manufacturing and processing industries and services.

Also, cooperation has benefited tourism in ASEAN nations. All 10 ASEAN nations have become destinations for Chinese tourists. The number of Chinese tourists visiting ASEAN for the first time increased from 1.91 million in 2003 to 4.5 million in 2009.

By Zhao Chenyan, People's Daily Online

(Editor:赵晨雁)

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