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The Trading Power, Part II: Eastern Boom Lightens Western Gloom

By Li Zhenyu (People's Daily Online)

10:18, November 09, 2012

China's prospering trading brings a silver lining to the gloomy global economy

China has become a booster of its neighboring countries' economic development. (Photo/China Daily)

The Trading Power, Part I: A Decade of Fastest Development

The golden decade of China's trade boom has brought tangible profits to various economies, making China a source of warmth during the severe financial winter.

The past decade saw China, the largest trading partner of Japan, South Korea, India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), become a booster of its neighboring countries' economic development.

The past decade saw China, the world's largest exporter and second largest importer that shared complementary strengths with the United States, European Union, and other major economies, become an important stabilizer of the global economy.

Booster of the Motor

The thriving Chinese economy has become the driving force for the economic development of Asia, the global economy's main motor of growth.

With China being their largest trading partner, such major Asian economies as Japan, South Korea and India, including the ASEAN countries, have achieved rapid growth through trade with the world's most populous nation.

Free trade area (FTA) plays a critical role in liberalizing trade. During the past decade, China has made considerable contributions to the establishment of free trade zones with its neighboring countries.

The launch of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, which comprises China, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, provides a glimpse of the economic and trade exchanges between China and other Asian countries.

Since the commencement of building one of the world's largest FTAs — the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area 10 years ago, China's average tariff for the ASEAN countries fell from 9.8 percent to 0.1 percent, with trade volume of the two regions almost reaching $363 billion in 2011.

ASEAN's trade turnover with China has increased eight folds from $3.23 billion in 2000 to $28.4 billion in 2011, while China's foreign direct investment (FDI) in ASEAN grew nearly 10 times from $0.62 billion in 2005 to $5.91 billion in 2011, despite the global financial crisis.

Meanwhile, China has overtaken the European Union and Japan to become the largest trading partner of ASEAN since 2009, while the ASEAN also became the third largest trading partner of China.

"On balance, China has acted as a booster of Asia's economic development," Shi Mingshen, one of China's most influential business commentators, said to this journalist.

"The nation helped sustain a positive growth environment for Asia amid the global financial crisis and insulate it against the US and EU recession to the maximum extent possible."
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