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Guangzhou to host ASEAN forum
( 2003-08-20 09:23) (China Daily)

A high-level symposium to promote co-operation between members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China will be held in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province, from November 10 to 12.

Jiang Chengzong -- secretary-general of the China National Committee for Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation, the event's organizer -- said the symposium will provide a good platform for communication between China and ASEAN members, especially when the countries are working towards setting up a free-trade area.

Close joint work is key to the economic development of China and ASEAN members at a time when the world economy is sluggish, Jiang added.

"How to facilitate Chinese investment in ASEAN countries will be a key part of the symposium,'' Jiang said.

As close neighbours of China, ASEAN member countries have attracted more and more Chinese enterprises. Chinese investment in the ASEAN countries grew by 60 per cent last year compared with the previous year. As of June this year, China had invested in 822 projects in the ASEAN countries, with a contractual value of US$1.37 billion.

ASEAN members invested in 982 projects in China with a contractual value of US$2.82 billion during the first half of this year.

More than 200 entrepreneurs and officials from China and the ASEAN member countries are expected to take part in the symposium.

Though China and ASEAN began their economic and trade exchanges from a relatively low starting point, the trade co-operation between the two sides is growing rapidly.

Exports from ASEAN member countries to China grew by 55.5 per cent year-on-year to US$20.47 billion during the first half of the year, while exports from China to ASEAN rose 32.4 per cent to US$13.77 billion.

China and ASEAN have started negotiations on a China-ASEAN free-trade area, which would have an estimated population of 1.7 billion people.

China yesterday formally submitted an application to ASEAN to join the Treaty of Amity and Co-operation in Southeast Asia. The two sides agreed to hold the signing ceremony for China's accession to the treaty at the October meeting of Chinese and ASEAN leaders in the Indonesian resort of Bali.

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