China builds relationship with neighbors
October 20, 2010
As noted in our news section, Intra-Asia shipping is booming. And while many trade warriors in the U.S. are having a hard time selling their mission to policy-makers, China is steadily conquering new markets.
Free trade is the highlight of the seventh China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO), which opened yesterday in Nanning, capital of south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
The first expo held since the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) was established in January, the EXPO attracted record numbers of businesses looking to take advantage of the new opportunities on offer.
China has removed tariffs on 91.5 percent of products imported from the 10 ASEAN countries, and the average tariff rate is down to 0.1 percent. The six original ASEAN countries, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, have removed tariffs on 90 percent of Chinese commodities, and cut the average tariff level down to 0.6 percent. The four newer ASEAN countries – Viet Nam, Lao PDR, Cambodia and Myanmar – will achieve this goal in 2015.
From January to August this year China-ASEAN bilateral trade totaled US$185.4 billion, comprising imports worth $97.3 billion and exports worth $88.1 billion, up 54 percent and 40 percent over the same period last year respectively.
“ASEAN is China’s third largest importer and our fourth largest export market,” said Jia Guoyong, deputy director general of the Trade Development Bureau of China’s Ministry of Commerce. “CAFTA, is a new zone for bilateral trade, and will boost cooperation among China and ASEAN members.”
In the first half of 2010, ASEAN direct investment in China reached around $3.1 billion, while China’s non-financial direct investment in ASEAN economies was about US$1.2 billion. As of the end of June this year, cumulative investment volume totaled $69.4 billion.
With the expo as an important stimulus, enterprises from China and ASEAN will benefit from a potential market of 1.9 billion people, covering 11 countries, Jia said.
It is estimated that China-ASEAN bilateral trade will hit the $250 billion mark this year.
The six-day expo will run until October 24, and will center on the development of CAFTA and promotion of favorable trade and investment policies in member nations. With the theme of “free trade and new opportunities,” the expo includes a range of high-level forums on finance, agriculture, brand management, and trade association cooperation.
Commodities with low and zero tariffs, including machinery, electronics and construction materials, are expected to be a highlight of the expo.
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