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Create a New Chapter for China-ASEAN Relation

Copyfrom:Yunan DailyPost Time:2017-05-24 17:11:52

------Special Report of Xu Ningning, Executive President of China - ASEAN Business Council 

The year of 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of dialogue cooperation between China and the ASEAN. 

In this moment when we look back and take step forward, our reporter took an exclusive interview with Xu Ningning, Executive President of China - ASEAN Business Council. As a witness, participant and promoter of the development of China-ASEAN relations, Xu Ningning shared with journalist the history between China and ASEAN in the past 25 years since he began to deal with ASEAN affairs in 1990. He also put forward advice and suggestions for Yunnan Province’s integration and development. . 

Mutual benefit and friendship are inseparable 

China and ASEAN countries are connected by mountains and rivers.The two sides have the advantages of resource endowments and economic complementarity. Their industrial structure has its own characteristics. Xu Ningning said that since the establishment of dialogue partnership in 1991, the relationship between China and ASEAN has been continuously developed and consolidated, which is based on a very important starting point - mutually beneficial cooperation. 

In Xu Ningning's view, the profound friendship of mutually beneficial cooperation between China and the ASEAN countries has also been established in the common struggle. At the beginning of the establishment of dialogue between the two sides, the link between trade, investment and other aspects are not very close. After the outbreak of the Asian financial crisis in 1997, China ensure devaluation of Chinese Yuan under huge pressure which stabilized the region's financial markets and helped Southeast Asian countries out of the financial crisis. At the same time, China launched a series of measures to maintain regional market stability which won the high praise of Southeast Asian countries and also demonstrate the responsible spirit of China.. 

During the period following the Asian financial crisis in 1997, ASEAN's trade with its largest and second largest trading partners fell sharply, while trade with China maintained double-digit growth. In November 2001, by the eve of opening-upmarketto the world of China's accession to the WTO, China and ASEAN reached a consensus to establish a free trade zone in ten years. Xu Ningning said: "One word can describe the relationship between China and ASEAN which is a friend in need is a friend indeed!" 

In November 2002, at the Sixth China-ASEAN Summit, the two sides signed the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation between China and ASEAN and set the goal of building China-ASEAN Free Trade Area by 2010. 

The completion of building China-ASEAN Free Trade Area has an inestimable effect on the development of countries in the region. Xu Ningning said that this is the first FTA China established with foreign countries and is also the first free trade areaASEAN countries as a whole established with other countries. China-ASEAN free trade area currently has the world's largest population and the biggest one amongdeveloping countries. 

Innovation is the source of vitality to common development

Since China-ASEAN Dialogue Partnership wasestablished 25 years ago, innovation cooperation has become the basic experience of China-ASEAN cooperation. Xu Ningning said that China is the first foreign country to establish a free trade zone with ASEAN as a whole, the first strategic partnership with ASEAN and the first ultra-region country to join Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia. So many "first" means continuous innovation has brought infinite vitality to cooperation. 

In 2003, then Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao proposed atthe Seventh China - ASEAN Summit that China - ASEAN Expo is to be held once in a year since 2004 in Nanning, Chinaand China - ASEAN Business and Investment Summit to be held in the same period.This announcement was most welcomed by leaders of ten ASEAN countries. At this point, China - ASEAN Expo demonstrate the important achievement in innovation cooperation between China and the ASEAN which provides positive guarantee for the two to share business information, enhance understanding and to establish business channels. 

Moreover, the innovation cooperation between China and ASEAN has brought new changes to ASEAN. Meanwhile, innovation cooperation has brought the demonstration effect to the regional cooperation. Following the completion of building China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, other countries have also signed free trade agreements with ASEAN. The United States and other countries have joined the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, which has promoted the development of ASEAN countries economy and international status and strengthened the cohesion within ASEAN. 

Pragmatic cooperation consolidates innovation and improves quality and efficiency 

Xu Ningning said that China and ASEAN's innovative cooperation should produce solid result through pragmatic action. 

Over the past 25 years, trade cooperation and investment between China and ASEANhave increased at a steady growth rate. Currently China has became the largest trading partner of ASEAN and ASEAN the third largest trading partner of China. The economic cooperation between China and ASEAN has becomeimportant booster for China and ASEAN dialogue relations. Xu Ningning stressed that China and ASEAN have now established a series of cooperation mechanisms.The next step is to focus on pragmatic cooperation to improve quality and efficiency. 

At present, all parties are actively developing industry docking and industry associations docking to enhance mutual understanding of the various industries, and thus promote business cooperation. "Iam leading a team of more than 10 outstanding Chinese construction companies to visit Southeast Asia countries this time and plan to meet with the local industry associations to give full play to their respective advantages and look for opportunities for cooperation," said Xu Ningning. 

Comprehensive cooperation is to promote division of industry and mutual benefits

Xu Ningning told reporter that China and ASEAN cooperation has been fully blossomed in the areas of politics, economy, culture and others. In the economic field, the cooperation in finance, logistics, standard, intellectual property rights and cooperation between young entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises are becoming more and more diverse; cooperation in culture and society is getting rich such as tourism cooperation, educational cooperation, medium cooperation in the newspaper, journal and television. 

Xu Ningning said that around the world, nearly twenty institutes are similar to the China - ASEAN Business Council such as the United States - ASEAN Business Council, the EU - ASEAN Business Council etc.. Chinese side will have business meeting with ASEAN countrieseach year to discuss how to enhance dialogue with third parties and to expand cooperation to promote win-win cooperation. 

In-depth cooperation to build an upgraded version of FTA 

Xu Ningning believes that with the deepening of China-ASEAN cooperative relations, the consensus reached by the two sides are being put into more practical way. From the preliminary framework agreement to the specific consensus; from the first joint statement, to current actionplan, strategic cooperation has been constantly moved forward between the two sides. 

The establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community has been completed and the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) is being negotiated. The series of new regional economic developments have increased standards for deepening cooperation between China and ASEAN. 

In 2013, Premier Li Keqiang pointed out at the 10th China - ASEAN Expo and China - ASEAN Business and Investment Summitthat the cooperation between China and ASEAN is stepping from the "Golden Years" to "Diamond Decade" with the aim to jointly build upgraded China - ASEAN Free trade area. 

The upgraded version of the Protocol has been implemented. The Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity (2016-2020) has also clarified the key cooperation contents between the two sides over the next five years. Xu Ningning said, in-depth cooperation is the inevitable choice of common development.

Yunnan to Aim at Precise Cooperation  

Xu Ningning said, bordering with ASEAN countries, Yunnan Province has a very important geographical advantage. Over the past 25 years, Yunnan and ASEAN have established a profound friendship, laying a good foundation for economic and trade cooperation. With the development of "One Road and One Belt Initiative" and the development strategy of planning Yunnan Province as China's radiation center for South Asia and Southeast Asia, Yunnan will make new and important contributions to the development of China-ASEAN relations. 

Xu Ningning suggested that, under the economic new normal, Yunnan should make clear the overall goal of improving quality and efficiency in the cooperation with ASEAN and make good use of  resourcesadvantages and industrial structure complementarity to better identify production capacity and cooperation opportunities and to vigorously promote economic cooperation and cultural exchanges. Active moves should be taken in the aspects of improving quality and efficiency.

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