Ports and shipping have become the important vessel for the friendly cooperation between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said Chinese Transportation Minister Li Shenglin here on Sunday.
"Last year alone, 100 billion U.S. dollars of goods in the China-ASEAN bilateral trade are handled via ports and shipping, that's more than half of the total trade volume," Li said at a forum on port cooperation and development.
Bilateral trade between the two sides reached 160.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2006, more than twenty-folded the amount in 1991.
Statistics show that by the end of last year, China has more than 1,400 ports, handling 5.57 billion tons of cargo through put in 2006.
"Cooperation between China and the ASEAN ports is in the best time in history," Li said.
China has signed shipping agreements with Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. The content of a shipping agreement between China and the ASEAN has been basically approved by two sides, according to the minister.
Sun Chanthol, transportation minister of Cambodia, said that the agreement is expected to be inked at the 6th China-ASEAN Transportation Ministers Meeting to be held in Singapore early November.