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ASEAN, China set to promote economic cooperation


15:50, August 29, 2012

SIEM REAP, Cambodia, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- The 11th consultation between the ten ASEAN Economic Ministers and their Chinese counterpart was held here on Wednesday to discuss ways to further enhance bilateral trade and investment.

The dialogue was co-chaired by Cambodian Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh, chair of ASEAN, and Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming.

Speaking in the opening remarks, Cham Prasidh said that this year is the 21st anniversary of ASEAN-China strategic dialogue partners and the meeting was very important to promote economic cooperation between ASEAN and China.

"China is still the ASEAN's largest trading partner and the meeting is an opportunity for us to seek ways to foster trade, investment and cooperation to boost our economic growth," he said.

Chen Deming said that ASEAN is China's third largest trading partner and the bilateral trade between ASEAN and China in the first seven months of this year totaled 220 billion U.S. dollars, up 9 percent compared with the same period of last year.

He said that ASEAN has become an important investment destination for Chinese companies, and the bilateral investment was 93 billion U.S. dollars in the first six months of this year.

He said that China saw ASEAN as a potential and strategic trading partner and was looking forward to enhancing bilateral trade and investment relations with the bloc.

Surin Pitsuwan, ASEAN Secretary-General, said that the bilateral relationship between ASEAN and China was very productive and both sides certainly took the relationship very seriously.

"The bilateral trade between the two sides is growing very fast," he said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Monday. "China is the largest market for ASEAN and the country is certainly a growth engine for ASEAN as it has been the growth engine for the rest of the world."

Chen arrived here on Tuesday to participate in the 44th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting and related meetings.

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