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China to speed up FTA process with ASEAN


China to speed up FTA process with ASEAN

3 November 2004

NANNING, Nov. 3 (Xinhuanet) — The Chinese government is willing to speed up the process of the China-ASEAN free trade area (FTA) and promote comprehensive and substantive bilateral cooperation, said Chinese Vice-Premier Wu Yi here Wednesday.

Wu made the remarks when addressing the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit held here. The summit, together with the ongoing first China-ASEAN Expo, are measures the Chinese government has taken to deepen the strategic partnership oriented to peace and prosperity between China and the ASEAN nations and to promote the negotiations on the China-ASEAN free trade area.

Wu said China is willing to work from four aspects for the acceleration of the FTA process.

China is ready to quicken the negotiation process for a timely completion of the FTA, she said. The two sides can strengthen cooperation in such fields as finance, service, investment, agriculture and information industry.

China and the ASEAN agreed to establish a free trade area by 2010, as set in the Framework Agreement on ASEAN-China Comprehensive Economic Cooperation signed in November 2002. Tariffs for most products will be lowered to zero by then.

China and the ASEAN should work together to further enlarge bilateral trade, especially trade in machinery and electronic products, as well as in high-value-added commodities.

"The Chinese government will take various measures to encourage Chinese businesses to increase imports from the ASEAN nations," Wu said.

The two sides should also increase reciprocal two-way investment, she said.

The ASEAN is an important investment source for China, while the Chinese government will encourage more capable Chinese companies to invest in the ASEAN, and to expand fields of cooperation, Wu said.

Till June this year, the actual investment by the ASEAN nationsin China amounted to 34 billion US dollars, and the contractual investment of China’s mainland companies in the ASEAN were 1.037 billion US dollars.

Wu said the two sides should enhance high-tech cooperation. China would like to cooperate with the ASEAN in the fields of electronic information, bio-tech, the application of telemetry technology, seismology, oceanography, and research on tropic biological resources, Wu said.