Na­tion to as­sist in SE Asian up­grade

Vice-pre­mier says China has key role to play in in­vest­ment and trade ties

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By LYUCHANG, YANG ZI­MAN and ZHANG LI in Nanning Zhou Mo con­trib­uted to the story. Con­tact the writers at lvchang@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China is will­ing to help drive in­dus­trial up­grad­ing in South­east Asian na­tions in the form of di­rect in­vest­ment, projects, tech­no­log­i­cal co­op­er­a­tion, and im­ports and ex­ports of equip­ment, Vice-Pre­mier Zhang Gaoli said on Sun­day.

“China, with its ad­van­tages in cap­i­tal, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and man­age­ment for in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion, will help ASEAN coun­tries to el­e­vate their in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion based on de­mand in dif­fer­ent coun­tries,” Zhang said at the open­ing cer­e­mony of the 13th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) in Nanning, cap­i­tal of the Guangxi Zhuang au­ton­o­mous re­gion.

He said China and the 10-mem­ber As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (ASEAN) should es­tab­lish closer ties with an e-com­merce trade plat­form be­ing built in Nanning.

Jack Ma, chair­man of e-com­merce gi­ant Alibaba Group, said dur­ing the four­day event that the com­pany will ex­pand its in­vest­ment in the South­east Asian coun­tries, us­ing Guangxi as a spring­board for re­gional de­vel­op­ment.

Alibaba, the world’s largest on­line re­tailer, has taken a con­trol­ling stake in South­east Asian on­line re­tailer Lazada to tap into the lu­cra­tive con­sumer mar­ket in coun­tries such as In­done­sia, Sin­ga­pore and Thai­land.

“The de­vel­op­ment of on­line busi­ness not only pro­motes more con­sump­tion, but has helped to cre­ate nearly 30 mil­lion jobs in China” said Ma.

“I be­lieve that South­east Asian coun­tries will gain great de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties from e-com­merce,” he said.

At the same time, the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive un­der the frame­work of the China-pro­posed Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road, also pro­vides op­por­tu­ni­ties for en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion.

China Gen­eral Nu­clear Power Group, the coun­try’s largest nu­clear op­er­a­tor in terms of ca­pac­ity, said it would fol­low the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive to seek fur­ther busi­ness de­vel­op­ment in South­east Asia.

Chen Jian, gen­eral man­ager of Fangcheng­gang Nu­clear Power Co Ltd, CGN’s sub­sidiary, said the es­tab­lish­ment of its re­gional head­quar­ters in Malaysia shows its de­ter­mi­na­tion to push for­ward co­op­er­a­tion in South­east Asian coun­tries.

“Cur­rently we have many projects in Thai­land, Malaysia, Sin­ga­pore and other coun­tries in the field of clean en­ergy,” he said.

“It’s of mu­tual ben­e­fit, as it not only helps meet the en­ergy de­mand but it drives up the whole value chain for ASEAN coun­tries in terms of tech­nol­ogy and equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing through our co­op­er­a­tion.”

China is ASEAN’s largest trad­ing part­ner, while ASEAN is China’s third largest. Bi­lat­eral trade be­tween China and ASEAN has in­creased con­sid­er­ably over the past 25 years since the two sides es­tab­lished di­a­logue re­la­tions in 1991, grow­ing 18.5 per­cent year-onyear from $7.96 bil­lion to $472.16 bil­lion last year.

China and ASEAN have pledged to fur­ther ex­pand bi­lat­eral trade to $1 tril­lion by 2020. To achieve the goal, China and ASEAN signed an agree­ment late last year to up­grade the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area to fur­ther lib­er­al­ize and fa­cil­i­tate bi­lat­eral trade and in­vest­ment. The agree­ment of­fi­cially came into force in July.

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