ASEAN expects China to boost businesses in the region

08:57, June 09, 2011      

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ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General S. Pushpanathan said on Wednesday that China could help boost businesses in South East Asian countries, which are often faced with issues in financing.

"If you look at China's development in terms of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), innovation and research and development are the important components. China has gone international because of these components," Pushpanathan told Xinhua at the opening of the 2011 Asean-China SME conference here.

"When we look at Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) SMEs, there are a number of problems. One is SME financinghere is where the SMEs have to look at coming out of good proposals of financing. This is something we can learn from China in terms of capacity building the human resources part of it," he said.

"ASEAN is slowly moving towards services. This is another area ASEAN and China can work together because China is also having a growing middle income population especially in the coastal region. ASEAN is also having a growing middle income and young population, so there are a lot of synergies both sides can work to tap this market," he added.

China recently started a series of initiatives to assist ASEAN financially. It established the 10-billion-U.S. dollar China-Asean Investment Cooperation Fund in 2009 with the aim of financing major investment cooperation projects to the infrastructure, energy and construction in the ASEAN member countries.

Loans under the investment fund will be offered over three to five years.

China has also signed currency swap agreements with Indonesia, South Korea and Malaysia to help ease foreign-exchange shortages and aid bilateral trade and investment.

The country also announced the construction of a high-speed railway reaching from NanningChina's main center of Asian trade, to Singapore via Vietnam, Malaysia and Laos would begin this year, giving a boost to trade between China and South East Asia.

China is currently ASEAN's largest trading partner, which accounted for some 11.6 percent of the ASEAN's total global trade.

Bilateral trade between the two sides was 45.65 billion U.S. dollars in 2010.

The SMEs in ASEAN contributed 19 to 31 percent to the region's exports.

Source: Xinhua
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