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ASEAN plus three mechanism boosting regional economy: official
( 2003-08-09 09:07) (China Daily)

The enhanced regional cooperation in East Asia boosts the trade, economic and investment links among ASEAN plus three members, and has expedited regional economic integration, Chinese Finance Minister Jin Renqing told a regional conference in Manila on Thursday.

"Taking the trade of China with ASEAN countries, Japan and Korea as an example, the trade volume has been expanding for several years," Jin made the remarks at the one-day ASEAN plus three Finance Ministers' Meeting, which also involved his counterparts from the 10 ASEAN members as well as Japan and South Korea.

"After sealing a rapid growth in 2002, China also stepped another big stride forward in trade with Japan, Korea and ASEAN countries, striking growth rates of 36 percent, 44 percent and 45 percent," Jin added.

"When the world economy is fluctuating, the economic and trade cooperation among ASEAN plus three members has played an increasing role in promoting economic stability and growth in Asia, " Jin explained, adding, "Under the concerted efforts by the Asian countries to actively making economic restructuring, exploring the domestic and regional markets, and promoting the trade and investment facilitation within the region, the economy in Asia will overcome the lackluster global environment, regain greater vigor and bring about new economic miracles."

Jin also said that China supports the Asian Bond Market Initiative which accords to the regional interest, and that it stands ready to actively participate in various researches and cooperation in this regard.

The regional bond market will go through three stages: firstly, self-improvement of domestic bond market by the member countries; secondly, opening domestic bond markets wider to other members so as to facilitate the gradual integration of individual markets: and finally, forging a single regional market, Jin elaborated.

"Presently, only a few members have entered into the second stage, while most members are still on the way to fulfill the first, representing the biggest obstacle for the establishment of Asian Bond Market. Therefore, we should focus our next-step efforts on the improvement of domestic bond market," Jin noted.

Jin also believed that the participants in the Asian Bond Market include not only government agencies but also issuers, investors and intermediaries in the private sector. With the constant development and integration of the economic and financial system in Asian countries, a vibrant Asian Bond Market will finally come into being.

China is "very pleased" to see that significant progress has been achieved in implementing the Chiang Mai Initiative, Jin said, adding that the bilateral currency swap network promoted by the Initiative will positively contribute to the regional financial stability.

"More importantly, it demonstrate the strong political will and determination of the East Asian countries to jointly strive for self-improvement," Jin concluded.

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