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China to Push Forward Upgraded China-ASEAN FTA, Enhance Cooperation with ASEAN – Vice Premier

(Courtesy CCTV) — China is willing to work with ASEAN to push forward an upgraded China-ASEAN Free Trade Area and enhance production capacity cooperation with ASEAN, Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said on Friday.

Zhang made the comments at the opening ceremony of the 12th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, capital of south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

“The world political and economic structure is in process of profound reform. China and ASEAN have to strengthen cooperation, build a community of common interest, common destiny and common responsibility with political mutual trust, integrated economy and inclusive culture. Only by this, can China and ASEAN effectively cope with the difficulties and challenges to achieve further development respectively,” said Zhang.

Zhang stressed that China stands ready to work together with ASEAN to push forward the implementation of China-ASEAN “2+7” cooperation framework and promote the further development of the strategic partnership with the aim of building the “Belt and Road” together and forming a closer China-ASEAN community of common destiny.

The vice premier put forward six proposals:

First of all, China and ASEAN should promote political mutual trust, strengthening the strategic docking between China and ASEAN.

Secondly, China and ASEAN should further enhance economic and trade cooperation, jointly create an upgraded China-ASEAN Free Trade Area.

China is willing to cooperate with ASEAN to jointly boost the negotiation process of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and promote the development of the regional economic integration, said Zhang.

Thirdly, China and ASEAN should push international production capacity cooperation, in order to realize mutual benefit and win-win result of a high level.

“China is willing to launch international productivity capacity cooperation with ASEAN in electric power, engineering machinery, construction materials, communication and other fields, in order to enhance global competitiveness of the industries of China and ASEAN,” said Zhang.

Fourthly, China and ASEAN should strengthen the construction of interconnection, and establish an effective and convenient infrastructure network.

China is willing to work with ASEAN, to establish China-ASEAN information harbor, improve the information infrastructure for interconnection, and boost cooperation in various fields via information networks, Zhang added.

Fifthly, China and ASEAN should further develop marine cooperation and build a cooperative marine partnership.

He said that China is willing to make join efforts with ASEAN countries to maintain the peace and stability of the South China Sea. The two sides should push forward the joint ocean development and put forth effort to make the marine cooperation a new highlight as well as a new driving force for the development of China-ASEAN relationship, he added.

Sixthly, China and ASEAN should work closely in cultural exchange, continuously consolidate the foundation of good-neighborly relationship.

“With the difficult and tortuous journey of the current world economic recovery, China is willing to work with ASEAN to make use of each others’ advantages for mutual benefit and win-win results, jointly overcome difficulties and challenges that we face, and promote the strong, sustainable and balanced growth of the world economy, as well as the development and prosperity of the region,” said Zhang.

The expo, held from Friday to Monday, carries the theme “creating a new blueprint for maritime cooperation by jointly building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.”

Initiated in 2004, the expo serves as an important platform to promote bilateral trade and relationships between China and the ASEAN.

China is the ASEAN’s largest trading partner, while ASEAN ranks as China’s third-largest trading partner.

Bilateral trade between China and the ASEAN increased 8.23 percent year on year to 480 billion U.S. dollars in 2014.

[CCTV+ through Reuters]

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