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China and ASEAN: Deepening Economic Cooperation is a Mutual Need of Both Sides

Post Time:2017-05-24 17:09:15

On December 31, 2015, ASEAN Community announced its completion, which not only brought the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) into a new stage of development, but also was a great event of the regional cooperation and the international community affairs. ASEAN Community consists of the ASEAN Political Security Community, the ASEAN Economic Community and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.The construction of ASEAN Economic Community is beneficial to the new development of economic cooperation between China and ASEAN, and also has brought a large number of new business opportunities to our country enterprise management into the asean countries. 

In view of the series of new changes emerging in the construction of ASEAN Economic Community, and based on how to deepen economic and trade cooperation between China and ASEAN currently and hereafter, three proposals were putforwad: The first is to develop economic and trade cooperation based on ASEAN’s concern; the second is that the economic and trade cooperation between ASEAN and non-Asean countries needs to be taken into consideration when developing the economic and trade cooperation btween China and ASEAN; third is that both sides need to jointly promote the development of China-ASEAN economic and trade cooperation. 

To Develop Economic and Trade Cooperation Based on ASEAN’s Concern 

From the perspective of Good-Neighbour Diplomatic Policy, China has always been supporting the construction of ASEAN Economic Community. And the development of ASEAN Economic Community is not only a matter of enhancing ASEAN’s internal cohesion, but also consolidating ASEAN’s leading role in regional economic cooperation, as well as relating to the fact that ASEAN makes a bigger and bigger difference in international economic affairs. 

According to the current situation of ASEAN Economic Community’s construction and the goal of ASEAN to become the world’s fourth largest economy, the Assocition of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) formulated the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint in 2025, whose effective implementation is one of ASEAN’s major concerns. It is only when combining ASEAN’s major concerns with the economic and trade cooperation can the optimal cooperation be gained. Therefore, all the relevent domestic parties should adopt the suggestion of carefully studing the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint in 2025 to find the key point and take specific measures for cooperation. 

As the industrial upgrading is the basis of economic growth as well as an important gurantee for strengthening the foundation of ecnomic growth, the active implementation of economic transformation and industrial upgrading is an important measure and the major concerns for both China and Asean countries. The construction of Maritime Silk Road and the implementation of the upgrading of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area have a positive promoting role for both sides’ industry cooperation. And it should be a priority for China to strengthen industry cooperation and assist Asean countries to implement industrial upgrading in China-ASEAN economic cooperation. 

Up to now, ASEAN has been clear about the eight key contents of Community’s construction in the future for a long period, including promoting the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in this region, and expanding the trade and investment among Asean countries. Enhancing China-ASEAN industry cooperation is helpful to support Asean countries to implement the two contents. On the one hand, both sides can promote the development of small and medium-sized enterprises by implementing cooperation in industry with complementary advantages; on the other hand, combining industry cooperation with the upgrading Chian-ASEAN Free Trade Area can create more trades, increase investment returns and in return further stimulate investment, and reduce some ASEAN country’s worry that Chinese products may have negative impacts on its industry. Hnece, it is exactly a necessity to jointly formulate Plans For China-ASEAN Production Capacity Cooperation. 

One of the big obstacles that affect the development of ASEAN Economic Community is the economic development imbalance among Asean countries, which, in details, is shown in the following two ways: one is that the per capita GDP gap is 50 times as high as between the country with the highest GDP and that with the lowest GDP as well as the muturity of their market economy, the other is some countries’ backward infrastructure. Consequently, the improvement of the infrastructure situations and the implementation of connectivity is the other major conceren for Asean countries. Currently, ASEAN is carrying out the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, which co-exists harmoniously with China’s Belt and Road Initiative. 

Taking the Economic and Trade Cooperation between ASEAN and Non-Asean Countries into Consideration When Developing the Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and ASEAN 

After the completion of ASEAN Economic Community announced, some countries outside this region further strengthen the economic and trade cooperation with Asean countries. For example, The United States, Japan, the European Union respectively becomes ASEAN’s first three largest source of investment. Among them, the United States’ investment volumes on ASEAN are four times as large as those of China. In January of this year, US-ASEAN Leaders Meeting was held at the Annenberg Estate, California, on which a joint statement mentioned that the United States will “assist ASEAN to implement high-level economic integration”. Mr. Obama made it clear that in order to make all Asean conutries eventually become the members of TPP, the United States has started the activity of promoting all parties to understand TPP and will launch “US-ASEAN connectivity” plan of setting up three centers in Southeast Asian countries. 

Janpanese Minister for Foreign Affairs said in mid-May when visiting four of Southeast Asian conutrys, that Japan would actively support the ASEAN Economic Community in perfecting the infrastructure construction and strengthen the support in softwares to simplify the customs formality. Government of Japan required the Embassy of Japan in Asean countries, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and Japan External Trade Research Organization (JETRO) to provide various supports for Janpanese enterprises to fight in groups.

The European Union is currently ASEAN’s second largest trade partner. And the Embassador of EU in Asean countries expressed his hope on May 12 this year that the relationship between EU and ASEAN could develop vigorously and link closely. The Europe Union would stergthen the cooperation with ASEAN in economy and trade, culture and tourism and so on, and would double the aid funds to help ASEAN realize development goals, promoting the negotiations of ASEAN-EU Free Trade Agreement.”The success of ASEAN is also the success of European Union”, the ambassador emphasized. 

The Summit for the Establishment of ASEAN-Russia Dialogue Partnership was held from May 19 to May 20 in Sochi, Russia, which stengthened the relationship between Russia and ASEAN. Russain Export Center (REC) predicted that by 2020 Russian exports to Asean countries will have accounted for 10% while the present market share is onlty 1.5%. 

The development of ASEAN Economic Community not only relies on the joint efforts of 10 Asean countries, but also needs the external support, especially the support of ASEAN dialogue partners. Therefore, ASEAN implements the policy of balanced diplomacy among great powers. Correspondingly, when developing economic and trade cooperation China is supposed to take the fact into consideration that some outside-ASEAN countries are also strenthening their economic and trade cooperation with ASEAN. Besides, China ought to study the correlation, competiveness and complementarity of the economic and trade cooperation among China, ASEAN and outside-ASEAN countries in order to reduce the obstacles of China-ASEAN ecnomic cooperation, and proactively explore and improve the industry chain values among China, ASEAN and the relevant countries outside this region. Meanwhile, China should make the related countries realize that China-ASEAN economic cooperation is conducive to ASEAN ecnomic stability and growth, while which is beneficial for the relevant countries to make profits by investing in Asean countries. Under the condition that China and the countries outside this region do not share much political trust, both sides could jointly lauch some activities to strengthen the economic exchanges and cooperation between two sides’ chambers and associations.

Developing China-ASEAN Economic and Trade Cooperation Requiring Joint Efforts of Both Sides

Xu Ningning stressed that there were many advantages for the development and cooperation of China and ASEAN area--- the geographical advantage of living in neighbourhood, the ancient and deep friendship that formed thousands of years ago when our ancestors explored the Maritime Silk Road; the good foundation of 25-year dialogue partnership, the advantage of free trade policy, and the practical demands of mutual support for coping with the current slow growth of worl economy. During the first four months of this year, the investment volume of ASEAN to China increased by 45.6% year on year, and that of China to ASEAN increased by 21.5% year by year, which exactly refleted the vitality of the bilateral cooperation. 

Currently, world economy is growing slowly in the whole and Asian economic growth continues to take the lead; meanwhile, China and Asean countries are also under great pressure of going down. Accordingly, cooperation is an essential choice for development, and promoting economic cooperation of mutual benefit requires all parties to enhance political trust witn each other, so as to stregthen the concept of cooperation, expand cooperation concencus and improve cooperation levels. All these need us to encounter new challenges jointly. 

It is the eternal theme of China-ASEAN relationship to enhance cooperation and seek mutual development. Hnece, China and ASEAN are supposed to carry out the Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity (2016-2020), effectively implement CAFTA outcome document --- China-ASEAN Protocol on Amendment of ‘Framework Agreement on ASEAN-China Comprehensive Economic Cooperation’ and Part of Agreement, and adhere to the basic principle of “Co-discussing, Co-building and Co-sharing”, providing strong support for the development of ASEAN Economic Community hand in hand for a glorious future.

  May 24, 2016



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