REGIONAL> Development
Fourth China-ASEAN FTA forum held in Yantai
By Zhao Ruixue (China Daily Shandong Bureau)
Updated: 2009-07-28 15:55

More than 200 representatives including officials from the ten members of ASEAN—the Association of Southeast Asian Nations—Chinese ambassadors and experts in the economic circle attended the Fourth China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA) Forum on July 28 in Yantai, Shandong province.

Fourth China-ASEAN FTA forum held in Yantai
H.E.Col.Thuyain Zaw, deputy minister of the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development in Myanmar delivers a speech on the forum.

The forum, with the theme of "Coming along as partners and going ahead together", was developed to ensure the FTA will be completed in 2010 as scheduled. "The forum will play an important role in promoting the construction of the China-ASEAN FTA and help enterprises fully use preferential policies to cope with the global economic downturn," Zhang Kening, the acting director general of the Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China, said in a speech delivered at the forum.

Representatives discussed new changes, issues and trends emerging on the construction of the FTA at the forum.

When the FTA is completed, tariffs of over 90 percent of products sold between China and ASEAN will be reduced to zero, creating new opportunities for the two party's economic development.

The average tariff rate of products imported from ASEAN to China has already been reduced to 2.4 percent this year.

Despite the global financial crisis, bilateral trade volume between China and ASEAN stood at $231.1 billion last year, a year-on-year growth of 14 percent.

Covering a population of 1.8 billion, the China-ASEAN FTA is expected to be the third largest global trade group following the European Union and North American Free Trade Area.