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China's vice FM sees potential for growth in China-ASEAN trade ties

Reporter: Xu Zhen 丨 CCTV.com

09-12-2016 16:44 BJT

The vice minister of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs -- Liu Zhenmin -- spoke highly of the potential for more cooperation between China and the important ASEAN countries during his appearance at the 13th annual China-ASEAN Exposition in Nanning.

Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said he has witnessed a transition from a display of mostly agriculture products to one of more high-tech goods over the four years he has attended the expo. Liu said that is a testament to a growing relationship between China and ASEAN.

"This year's China-ASEAN Expo has an important background, which is the 25th anniversary of dialogue partnership between the two sides. We should use this platform to deepen economic and trade cooperation. As Premier Li said, the past 25 years have been years of growth, the next 25 should be years towards maturity," Liu said.

Trade between China and the ASEAN region has grown 58 times larger in the past quarter of a century. That's made China ASEAN's biggest trading partner for seven straight years while the bloc has been China's third-largest trading partner for five consecutive years. Vice Minister Liu said the potential for more cooperation remains huge.

Liu said, "East Asia has become an important source of growth momentum for the world economy. However, trade within the region still accounts for less than 20 percent of the world total. That's why we should continue to promote trade cooperation between China and ASEAN."

Liu said there are reasons to be confident. He said ASEAN countries are considered priorities in China's construction cooperation under the belt and road initiatives. He also said that an upgrade of the China-ASEAN free trade area this July is expected to help facilitate trade and investment across borders.

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