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China remains ASEAN’s largest trade partner for ninth year

Updated: Jul 18,2018 7:16 PM

China has remained the largest trade partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations for the ninth year in a row, with $514.82 billion of trade volume last year, 6.6 times as much as that in 2003, when the two sides established strategic partnership.

Gao Yan, vice-minister of commerce, made the remarks in a news briefing on July 17. She said that China and ASEAN saw a trade rise of 18.9 percent in the first five months, up to $232.64 billion.

Mutual investment over the past 15 years totaled more than $200 billion, and more than 4,000 enterprises were established through direct investment, creating over 300,000 jobs for local people, according to Gao.

It was also announced at the press conference that the 15th China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit will be held during Sept 12-15 in Nanning, capital of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. Cambodia will be the country of honor in the expo and Tanzania will be the special-invited partner.

Innovation will be a highlight of the CAEXPO this year, which also aims to upgrade manufacturing sector in China and ASEAN countries and better integrate industrial and value chains, according to a bulletin for the expo.

Chen Zhou, vice-chairman of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said while attending the press conference that China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit will have more diversified activities, for instance, forums on new economy along the Belt and Road countries and for youth leaders from these countries will debut during the summit.

Meanwhile, branded activities like China-ASEAN Business Leaders Forum and Symposium on China-ASEAN Commercial Legal Cooperation will continue to be distinguished, Chen said.