Thailand Expects Establishment of China-ASEAN Free Trade Zone

Thai officials, businessmen and scholars are all expecting the establishment of a China-ASEAN free-trade zone, saying it would improve the bargaining power of ASEAN countries in the global community, a state-owned radio station reported Wednesday.

Commerce Minister Adisai Bhotaramik expects the free-trade zone to boost China-ASEAN free trade cooperation in agriculture, information technology, investment and development of the Mekong River Basin and the Golden Triangle Area.

Deputy Secretary-General Kiat Sitheamorn said the integration would help expand trade and investment as well as increase competitiveness.

Somporn Manarangsan, a renowned scholar on Chinese studies, and Anusorn Tamajai, vice-president of Citibank (Thailand) agreed Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries would forster closer trade and investment ties by bringing China into the ASEAN free trade network.

China and ASEAN members agreed to set up a free trade zone within 10 years at the fifth ASEAN-China Summit Tuesday in Brunei.

People's Daily Online ---