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Ties with ASEAN set to get broader, deeper

By He Wei in Nanning | China Daily | Updated: 2013-09-03 07:16

Cooperation between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is set to move beyond trade and investment, a Chinese official said on Monday.

Beijing will enhance connections with the region through infrastructure and industrial upgrading and services, while further promoting trade and investment, said Yao Jian, director of the general office of the Ministry of Commerce.

Yao made the remarks ahead of the 10th China-ASEAN Expo and the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, two high-profile events that commemorate the bilateral strategic partnership.

The two sides established a giant free trade zone in 2010 incorporating 1.8 billion people, one-quarter of the world's population. The zone has accelerated the liberalization of trade and investment as well as the scale of cooperation over the past two years.

"Good relations between ASEAN and China have created a conducive environment for us to develop our economies. We are also able to tap into China as the engine of growth in the Asia-Pacific," said Lee Chian-siong, from the community affairs development directorate of the ASEAN Secretariat.

It also reinforces the message that peace and stability are essential before we talk about prosperity for our people, he noted.

The upcoming fairs, which run from Tuesday through Friday, will devote extra attention to infrastructure, services and technology, giving fresh impetus to the annual events that used to focus on trade and investment alone, Yao said.

Transport ministers will meet in a China-ASEAN connectivity conference to promote the construction of transportation in a down-to-earth manner.

According to Lee, China and Vietnam will soon start on a new cross-border bridge, a move to further boost border trade.

In the field of industrial cooperation, key projects, such as the China-Malaysia "Twin Parks in Two Countries" will be strongly promoted to set examples for China-ASEAN joint construction of outbound trade in ASEAN.

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