China, ASEAN to negotiate on FTA upgrade

Xinhua | 2014-08-27

China, ASEAN to negotiate on FTA upgrade

China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed Tuesday to negotiate on upgrading a free trade area (FTA) to ensure that it remained dynamic and commercially relevant.

Economic ministers from China and ASEAN noted that the agreement to upgrade the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area was a testament to the strong positive relationships between the two economies and deepened the economic cooperation in a mutually beneficial manner, said a joint statement released amid the 46th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.

China maintains its position as ASEAN’s largest trading partner. According to the joint statement, ASEAN’s total trade with China reached $350.5 -billion in 2013, accounting for 14 percent of ASEAN’s total trade.

The ministers reaffirmed ASEAN and China’s commitment to achieving the joint trade volume target of $500 billion by the end of 2015.

The ministers also welcomed China’s initiatives to establish an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to provide financial support to regional infrastructure projects with priority to ASEAN connectivity.

Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng said this year is the opening year of the second decade of the establishment of China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership.

He made some proposals to expand China’s cooperation with ASEAN, including jointly building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, further raising the facilitation level of bilateral trade and investment, and enhancing cooperation in regional economic integration.

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source: Xinhua