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China, ASEAN aim to boost trade to $1t by 2020

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-10-10 09:51

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - China and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members agreed on Wednesday to scale up their two-way trade to $1 trillion by 2020, more than doubled to that of last year, according to a joint statement issued on the same day.

The statement came after the 16th China-ASEAN leaders' meeting that was held in Bruneian capital of Bandar Seri Begawan.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who arrived Bandar Seri Begaman earlier in the day, attended the summit with leaders of the ASEAN members.

In the statement, China and the ASEAN nations also agreed on the goal of expanding their two-way investment to $150 billion in the next eight years.

According to official numbers, China-ASEAN mutual investment has totaled over $100 billion by the end of 2012.

Vowing to oppose trade protectionism, the two sides pledged to start at an early date the talks over the upgrade of their free trade zone, which is called the ASEAN-China Free trade Area (ACFTA) and came into effect on Jan 1, 2010.

They have agreed with each other to continue maintaining and improving the Lancang-Mekong River navigation channel, said the statement, adding that China is ready to talk with ASEAN members on setting up cross-border economic cooperation zones in border areas.

Beijing and its Southeast Asian partners also indicated in the document that they will work concertedly to promote sustainable development and shrink the development gap within ASEAN bloc.

Analysts believed that uneven economic development has been, among others, one of most challenging problems perplexing the 10-member bloc with hugely different cultures, races and religions, making it an uphill climb to realize the final goal of integration.

On financial cooperation, the two sides decided to further improve "the early-warning and liquidity support facilities" to prevent regional financial risks, adding that they will mull over the setting up of a financing platform for infrastructure development in Asia.

Also according to the joint statement, China and the ASEAN nations concurred in promoting their cooperation in such areas as civil aviation, maritime activities, environment protection, agriculture, information and technology, human resources development, tourism and transportation.

Formed in 1967, ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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