The Effection of Nanning Channel
The 15th China- ASEAN Expo ( Expo) and ChinaASEAN Business and Investment Summit will be held in Nanning, Guangxi Province in September. For this year’s Expo, Cambodia is the country of honor and the African country Tanzania along the extending Maritime Silk Road will serve as the especially invited partner.
This year is the 15th anniversary for China and ASEAN nations to establish strategic partnership. Vice minister of the Ministry of Commerce Gao Yan said at the press conference that “this year’s Expo will innovate regional cooperation mechanism, enhance highlevel dialogue and push CHINA-ASEAN strategic partnership to a new phase; extend the value chain of exposition, strengthen the professional cooperation platform and facilitate CHINA-ASEAN economic and trade cooperation to yield new achievements; bring the Nanning Channel into full play and boost CHINA-ASEAN exchanges in various domains”.
CHINA-ASEAN economic and trade cooperation has yielded remarkable results
According to Gao Yan, in the past 15 years, CHINA-ASEAN economic and trade cooperation developed rapidly with remarkable results. In the year 2017, CHINA-ASEAN trade volume reached USD 514.82 billion, 6.6 times of that in 2003 and accounting for 1/8 in China’s total foreign trade. China has remained ASEAN’S biggest trade partner in nine consecutive years, and ASEAN has become China’s third biggest trade partner for seven consecutive years. From January to May of 2018, CHINA-ASEAN trade volume reached USD 232.64 billion with a year-on-year increase of 18.9%.
“Chinese companies are seeing a rapid growth in terms of investments in the ASEAN nations and bilateral investment is gradually striking a balance,” Gao introduced. The accumulative bilateral investment between China and ASEAN nations has exceeded USD 200 billion. Investment domains of the Chinese companies are shift- ing from manufacturing, mining and wholesale and retail gradually to infrastructure construction like electricity, water supply and telecommunication as well as more diverse commercial and trade service sectors. So far, China has set up more than 4,000 directly invested companies in the ASEAN countries with over 300,000 local employees.
“As an important participant to the Belt and Road Initiative, ASEAN is the prioritized direction and significant partner for international cooperation of the Belt and Road Initiative,” said Gao. China has signed inter-governmental Memorandum of Understanding with such ASEAN nations as Singapore, Burma and Malaysia, and China has signed inter-governmental bilateral cooperation planning with Laos and Cambodia to proactively carry out mutually beneficial cooperation such as infrastructure construction and economic & trade cooperation zones.
“The CHINA-ASEAN Free Trade Area was established in the year of 2010 and was successfully upgraded in 2015,” Gao pointed out. Both China and the
ASEAN nations are important members and proactive impellers of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RECP) negotiation. China will continue to firmly support AESAN’S core status in RECP negotiation, strengthen cooperation with ASEAN and accelerate negotiation course in a bid to strive for an early agreement. Gao disclosed that the two sides attach great importance to cooperation under sub-region cooperation framework like Lancang- Mekong River and Greater Mekong sub-region economic cooperation mechanism and CHINA-ASEAN eastern growth area cooperation, and the two sides promote the relevant local governments and companies to proactively participate in the regional economic integration course.
“Based on the different stages of CHINA-ASEAN Free Trade Area, from initiation, construction to upgrading, the Expo keeps creating business opportunities to companies in terms of trade and investment facilitation, international capacity cooperation, cross-border zone construction, cross-border finance innovation and cross-border e-commerce,” said Huang Weijing, member of Party Committee and secretary-general of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region at the press conference.
As a cooperation platform emerging to boost CHINA-ASEAN economic and trade development, the Expo is jointly sponsored by the economic and trade departments of China and ASEAN as well as the ASEAN Secretariat. In the past 14 years, over 200 conferences and forums covering a minimum of 40 domains were held under the Expo framework; the multi-field cooperation mechanism was established, which drove the launch of a batch of major projects like CHINA-ASEAN information port. From facilitating trade and investment cooperation to driving finance, customs, logistics, zone, technology and culture cooperation, the Expo has played the role of extension and radiation well, which benefits both the companies and people of the two sides.
CHINA-ASEAN industrial and business domains hope to strengthen cooperation in new fields
The CHINA-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (the Summit) was held at the same period as the Expo, and the Summit was jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce, the CCPIT, and the people’s government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in 2004. By virtue of continuous cultivation and upgrading, the Summit has turned into an important platform for China and the ASEAN nations to carry out government-enterprise dialogue, deepen economic and trade cooperation and boost regional economic integration.
Chen Zhou, vice chairman of the CCPIT said at a press conference themed “building the Maritime Silk Road in the 21st century and the ChiNA-ASEAN innovation community”, that this year’s Summit reflects the aspiration of the industrial and business domains of the two sides to seize the opportunities brought by the new round of technological and industrial revolution so as to strengthen cooperation in the domain of innovation.
“This year’s Summit will consolidate and upgrade original brand activities; meanwhile, the Summit will innovate activity mode and enrich activity content,” said Chen.
During the Summit, leaders from the country of honor Cambodia will be invited to carry out round table dialogue with Chinese entrepreneurs around the theme “deepening China- Cambodia economic and trade cooperation to realize mutual development”. This dialogue aims to help Chinese companies to learn about the latest investment policies and business environment of Cambodia, and to propose their own demands, which will boost trade and investment cooperation from two sides.
As one of the innovative activities of this year’s Summit, the Belt and Road Initiative New Economic Development Forum, which is to be held for the first time, will be themed around “the open world will drive ChinaASEAN Free Trade Area to upgrade construction”. The Forum will seek to establish an expert advisory committee for the Summit, which will provide intellectual support to the sustainable development of the Summit.
Another innovative activity is the first-time-held Belt and Road Initiative Young Leaders Forum with the theme of “new reform, new industry and new future”. Young entrepreneurs born in the 1980s and 1990s from domains like intellectual manufacturing, Internet, new energy, new material and new technology will be invited to the Forum to conduct start-up projects demonstration and exchange. Nanning Declaration for ChinaASEAN Youth to Serve the Belt and Road Initiative will be published, which will lay a solid networking foundation for CHINA-ASEAN economic and trade cooperation in future.
Besides, the CHINA-ASEAN Crossborder E-commerce Development Forum will be held to upgrade achievement exhibition and offline exchange activities of the original CHINA-ASEAN crossborder e-commerce platform. Themed with “building the CHINA-ASEAN Online Silk Road”, the Forum will invite representative enterprises to conduct onsite demonstrations to boost the construction of the CHINA-ASEAN cross-border e-commerce platform; CHINA-ASEAN Commercial Legal Cooperation Seminar will be held and such reports as National Legal Research Project for the Belt and Road Initiative and Implementation Effect Assessment for CHINA-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement will be published and an expert advisory committee for ChinaASEAN commercial legal affairs will be set up to provide legal protection and professional services for more enterprises.
“In the upcoming less than two months, together with the Ministry of Commerce and the people’s government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the CCPIT will detail the preparation scheme and quicken to push forward all the preparatory work to ensure the highest level of all activities,” said Chen.
“This year’s Summit will consolidate and upgrade the original brand activities; meanwhile, the Summit will innovate activity mode and enrich activity content.”