ASEAN to emerge as China’s top trading partner

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, ASEAN has historically emerged as China’s largest trading partner for the first time, said Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
November 27, 2020 | 11:46
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Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Photo: VGP

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is to deliver a welcome speech in the form of pre-recorded video at the online opening of the 17th China – ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) on November 27, at the invitation of the Chinese Government.

The Government chief highlighted the point in his video message to the 17th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit which will be held digitally on November 27.

Though the global economy was severely affected by Covid-19, ASEAN and China could still maintain positive momentum of cooperation, especially in trade and investment, and mutual support in the fight against the pandemic.

Over the last decade, China has been one of the top trading partners of ASEAN. The two-way trade between China and ASEAN member States reached US$300 billion in the first six months this year, of which trade between Viet Nam and China accounted for 20%, reported the VGP.

Under the theme “Responsive and Cohesive” initiated by Viet Nam as the ASEAN Chair 2020, the bloc has continued consolidating solidarity and unity, sustaining cooperation momentum, drastically curbing the Covid-19 pandemic while strengthening ASEAN centrality over security matters in the region as well as cooperation with partners.

Most recently at the 37th ASEAN Summit and related summits, leaders of ASEAN countries and its five partners, including China represented by Premier Li Keqiang, signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement which covers 2.2 billion people with a combined GDP of US$26,200 billion, Phuc recalled.

The signing of the trade pact is a laudable achievement and a strong affirmation of an open, fair, and rules-based multilateral trading system, Phuc emphasized.

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A photo of the 16th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Sept. 23, 2019(Photo: Xinhua)

It is also said by the Chinese globaltimes that: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has replaced the EU to emerge as China's largest trading partner in the first two months this year, customs data showed, as many Southeast Asian countries presented an unbreakable supply chain with China to secure trade despite external shockwaves like the coronavirus, experts noted.

Trade between China and ASEAN economies rose by 0.5 percent year-on-year to $85.32 billion in January and February, against a backdrop of falling trade with most other trading members as a result of the coronavirus assault. Overall, China's overseas trade slipped by 11 percent to $591.99 billion in the first two months of 2020.

In particular, China's imports from Vietnam recorded an astonishing surge of 24.2 percent, besides imports from Indonesia also rose by 13 percent year-on-year.

By the end of 2019, ASEAN was China's second-largest trading partner accounting for more than $641 billion trade during the year, while the EU stood as the largest trading partner.

At CAEXPO, Viet Nam has been the country with the largest number of participating businesses and exhibition stalls among ASEAN member countries. And this time, Vietnamese virtual stalls will stay open until the end of 2020, according to PM Phuc.

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Photo shows Nanning International Convention & Exhibition Center, the venue of 17th China-ASEAN Expo. Photo:Chinanews.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the ASEAN-China free trade area and Viet Nam is joining with other ASEAN countries to realize the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and expand cooperation with China on the basis of the UN Charter and international law for peace, stability, and prosperity in the region and the world.

PM Phuc also took the occasion to congratulate General Secretary, President Xi Jinping – the core leader of China, and Chinese people and Government upon their rapid success in addressing the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and remarkable economic rebound.

He also appreciated that China has shared information and experience in fighting the pandemic and provided assistance to affected countries.

PM Phuc underlines that Vietnam and other ASEAN member states are working towards the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, expanding collaboration with China on the basis of the United Nations Charter and international law and mutual benefits, contributing to peace, stability and prosperity in the region and the world.

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