NANNING — China and ASEAN have achieved substantial collaboration results in various areas, including trade and finance, Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli said on Sept 12.
In the past few years, China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members have been strengthening connectivity in policy, infrastructure, trade, finance, and people-to-people exchanges, injecting new vitality to the ancient Maritime Silk Road, Zhang said.
He made the remarks at the opening of the 14th China-ASEAN Expo and the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, in Nanning, capital of South China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
From 1991 to 2016, bilateral trade volume grew nearly 56-fold while two-way accumulative investment volume rose nearly 355-fold, Zhang said.
China has been ASEAN’s biggest trading partner for eight years, while ASEAN has been China’s third largest trading partner for six years. In the first seven months of this year, China-ASEAN trade volume increased 14.5 percent year on year, higher than China’ s overall trade growth rate.
The upgrade of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, already in effect, will inject new impetus to bilateral economic and trade development, Zhang said.
In terms of finance, China and the 10 ASEAN countries were among the founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which since 2016 has provided funding totaling $2.8 billion to 17 projects in nine developing countries in Asia.
The 100-billion-yuan ($15.32 billion) additional fund to the Silk Road Fund as well as special loans offered by the country’s policy banks to support the Belt and Road Initiative will benefit more ASEAN countries, Zhang said.
The two sides have also made big strides on policy, infrastructure and people-to-people exchanges, proving that the Belt and Road was in the common interests of all parties and in line with regional and global collaboration trends, Zhang said.