China, ASEAN move towards deeper economic, trade cooperation

(People's Daily Online) 14:13, September 14, 2021

Economic and trade cooperation between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been continuously deepening since the two sides established a dialogue relationship in 1991. Experts said that the China-ASEAN relationship has grown into the most successful and vibrant model for cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.

An exhibitor from central China’s Hunan province advertises products at the 18th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, capital of south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Sept. 11, 2021. (Xinhua/Ma Ning)

Trade between China and ASEAN increased from $8.36 billion in 1991 to $685.28 billion in 2020, representing an average annual growth rate of 16.5 percent, according to recent customs statistics. The growth rate was 3.4 percentage points higher than the overall average annual growth rate of China's foreign trade during the same period.

Last year, ASEAN became China’s largest trading partner. Meanwhile, China has remained ASEAN’s largest trading partner for the past 12 consecutive years. Between January and August, China’s imports and exports to ASEAN reached $553.92 billion, an increase of 33.3 percent, accounting for 14.5 percent of China’s total foreign trade during the same period.

The commodity structure has also been continuously optimized. China’s exports of mechanical and electrical products to ASEAN hit $204.48 billion in 2020, while the country’s imports of agricultural products, rubber, petroleum, natural gas and other products from ASEAN have continued to grow rapidly.

As of the end of 2020, Chinese companies have benefited from imports of goods worth 3.3 trillion yuan ($511 billion) from the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, an average annual increase of 27 percent, data from the General Administration of Customs showed. Over 90 percent of the goods traded between the two sides now enjoy zero-tariff treatment, equating to a total tax reduction of 314.9 billion yuan.

Visitors peruse over Malaysian products at the 18th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, capital of south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Sept. 11, 2021. (Xinhua/Zhou Hua)

Enterprises from China and ASEAN countries expressed their general optimism about the two sides’ economic and trade cooperation in the future, according to a report issued on Sept. 11 by global auditing and consulting firm PwC during the 18th China-ASEAN Expo held in Nanning, capital of south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The two sides are expected to deepen cooperation in various areas, said Gabriel Wong, inbound/outbound leader at PwC China.

Cross-border logistics between China and ASEAN are also improving. The new international land-sea trade corridor, which traverses western China and connects Southeast Asia, has turned out to be the fastest route that connects China’s inland western region with ASEAN under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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