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Logistics co-op needed between China and ASEAN

By Yan Yiqi and Huang Feifei  (China Daily)

13:18, September 26, 2012

A visitor looks at blackwood products shown by a Vietnamese exhibitor at the ninth China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, Sept 23, 2012. [Photo/Xinhua]

As China-ASEAN bilateral trade enters a period of fast growth, integrated logistics cooperation is seen as essential to further boosting trade relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Government officials, industry experts and companies from both regions are urging both sides to improve logistics cooperation.

"With the establishment of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area two years ago, the trade volume between the two regions has increased rapidly," Liao Xiaobo, vice-director of the development and reform commission of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, said at the China-ASEAN Logistics Cooperation Forum on Monday. "However, the key to develop bilateral trade - logistics services - have not improved accordingly."

Last year, trade between China and ASEAN reached $362.85 billion, an increase of 23.9 percent year-on-year. The figure was $105.9 billion in 2004.

Liao said several obstacles are hampering the development of an integrated logistics system.

"Although air and maritime transportation have been improved greatly in recent years, basic overland infrastructure construction is lagging behind. Due to our geographic advantage regarding ASEAN countries, transportation through land should be a core part of logistics services," he said.

The first cross-border highway between China and Vietnam was built seven years ago, but a planned full road project to connect China and Singapore via Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Malaysia is far from completion.

"The whole project is of strategic importance to both China and ASEAN, and it's the basis of an integrated logistics system. If countries such as Vietnam and Laos are having difficulties completing the project, then Guangxi is very glad to help," said Liao.

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