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Premier Wen: Business ties "strong driving force"
Latest Updated by 2006-10-31 14:32:27
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Premier Wen Jiabao delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the third China-ASEAN Exposition in Nanning, capital of southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Oct. 31, 2006.(Xinhua Photo)

Premier Wen Jiabao delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the third China-ASEAN Exposition in Nanning, capital of southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Oct. 31, 2006.(Xinhua Photo)

The all-round growth of China-ASEAN business ties has brought "substantive economic benefits" to both sides and become an "important basis" and "strong driving force" for boosting the overall China-ASEAN relations, said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao here Tuesday.

Wen delivered a speech entitled "Work together to Usher in a New Era of China-ASEAN Economic Cooperation and Trade" at the opening ceremony of the Third China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit.

Wen said over the past 15 years, guided by the principle of "mutual respect, equality and mutual trust, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation", the two sides have expanded cooperation in all fields.

He said bilateral trade has grown rapidly. In 1991, China-ASEAN trade was only about eight billion US dollars. In 2005, it reached 130.4 billion US dollars, registering an increase of 15 times.

China and ASEAN are now the fourth biggest trading partner of each other. ASEAN is China's fourth biggest export market and third biggest source of import.

Meanwhile, two-way investment has expanded. By the end of June 2006, ASEAN had made a total net investment of 40 billion US dollars in China and there is also a strong growth of Chinese investment in ASEAN.

Wen said regional and sub-regional cooperation between the two sides has been enhanced. China and ASEAN have concluded agreements on trade in goods and dispute settlement mechanism and launched negotiation on trade in services and investment.

The early harvest program was implemented in 2004, and China slashed tariffs on 7,000 goods from ASEAN in 2005. Substantive steps have been taken in sub-regional economic cooperation in the Beibu Gulf rim, Greater Mekong River and East ASEAN Growth Area.

He said people-to-people exchanges have increased. All ten ASEAN countries are now approved destinations for Chinese tourists, and under the China-ASEAN framework, China trains 1,500 professionals for ASEAN countries every year.

Wen said the two sides are complementary in resources, industrial structure and trade, and both are experiencing rapid development.

He said all this promises a "great future for our cooperation", and we must "seize this rare opportunity to broaden, enrich and upgrade our cooperation".

The one-day summit, with the theme as "one need, one future", attracted about 1,000 government officials, business people, experts and scholars from both China and 10 ASEAN countries.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China View website
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