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Xu Ningning: Committed to Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and ASEAN

Copyfrom:CHINA REPORTPost Time:2017-05-24 17:14:24

Hot Beijing finally ushered in a light rain. In the afternoon after the rain, our correspondent interviewed Executive President Xu Ningningin of China - ASEAN Business Council during the interval of his tight schedule.

Perhaps due to long journey, Xu Ningning seemed a bit tiredsitting at the desk." I have been particularly busyrecently and will probably stay a week at home. I will go for a business trip next week to Singapore and Malaysia and then in early August to Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam with a business delegation." He said. 

A Thoughtful Pioneer 

In 1981, graduated from School of Economics, Nanjing University, Xu Ningning started working in the National Economic and Trade Commission. We may imagine the way when he just graduated from 56-year-old Xu Ningning. He is never a man who wants easy life but a thinker anddoer. In the bookcase, books written by him and published in the 80s last century neatly arranged on the shelves.Yellow pages seem to tell the story of Xu Ningning’s youth.

In 1990, Xu Ningning was assigned to Economic System Reform Office of Hainan Province and began to pay attention to the cooperation with Southeast Asian countries in Hainan Special Economic Zone and later initiated the establishment of Southeast Asia Research Institute of Hainan Province. Since then, Xu Ningning has been committed to the promotion of cooperation between Hainan and neighboring Southeast Asian countries and   economic cooperation between China and Southeast Asian countries. Economic complementarity and cooperation prospects of the two sides came to the focus to his research. 

In 1991, China and ASEAN began to establish dialoguepartnership which broughtChina-ASEAN economic and trade cooperation into a new stage. Xu Ningning also began to be invited to Southeast Asian countries for visit. 

"Although dialogue partnership was established, but in my visit and observation, I obviously feel that some ASEAN countries showsno urgency to cooperate with China.Until the financial crisis in Southeast Asia in 1997, situation has began to change.” He said. 

In 1997, China and ASEAN joined hands to deal with Asia financial crisis. Chinapledgednot to depreciate the yuan and has won widely praised from the ASEAN countries. In this context, for the purpose of deepening the good-neighborly and friendly relations of cooperation between China and ASEAN, in 1998, Xu Ningning organized the Seminar on Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Southeast Asia. "Then Malaysian Ambassador to China held my hand and said the seminar is held with great importance and perfect timing. I am so excited to see this." Xu Ningning recalled. 

Promoter SparesNo Effort 

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of dialogue partnership between China and ASEAN. Over the past 25 years, Xu Ningning has been busy with China-ASEAN economic and trade cooperation. Especially in the building of China - ASEAN Free Trade Area and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, his hard work figure often appears in many occasions. 

"China-ASEAN Free Trade Area is the first free trade area China negotiated with foreign countries which brings good benefits to China and ASEAN countries in economy and political relations and opens up a new historical chapter. "Xu Ningning said. 

It is said that Xu Ningning started delivering ASEAN situation report in the country since 1992 and around the end of 2001 when China and ASEAN reached a consensuson the establishment of a free trade zone, he made more hurried journey with no stop to Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Nanning, Kunming and other places. We may take a close look at the work Xu Ningning has been doing since the establishment of CAFTA and find that Xu Ningning is a witness and promoter of this historical event. 

"ASEAN started building free trade zone in 1992when entrepreneurs and government officials of the ASEAN countries, especially the old sixASEAN countries have stronger FTA sense than we are. Although the number of Chinese enterprises entering ASEAN is increasing since the establishment of FTA, most of the businesses didn’t seem to seize the business opportunities with clear ambition."Xu Ningning said frankly. 

Xu Ningning keeps constant over decades in promoting China - ASEAN Free Trade Area in order to help Chinese enterprises have a better understanding and operation of ASEAN Free Trade Area about its construction status and market opening schedule and better identify business opportunities to improve cooperation efficiency and quality. 

In 2002 when China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA) started on negotiation, Xu Ningning delivered tens of lectures during the interval of traveling between China and ASEAN including four in Beijing, three in Yunnan, two in Guangxi, two in Sichuan, one in Guangdong and one in Malaysia. Since 9 month before the formal establishment of CAFTA in January2010, Xu Ningning was invited to 31 cities for research, consultancy and promotion of FTA.   

"I have devoted myself to China - ASEAN Free Trade Area with all my efforts to do everything possible for the purpose that FTA may achieve expected mutual benefits and win-win objective." Xu Ningning recalled with a light excitement. 

In October 2013, President Xi Jinping visited ASEAN countries and proposed the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative which has brought inappropriate interpretation in the international community. Xu Ningning, a well-known business expert of ASEAN affairs in China, has been delivering lectures on the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative from a strategic perspective in different occasions. 

"In the construction of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, discussion is a very important or indispensable premise.Only through discussion can joint-building be made.More and more Chinese enterprises are bullish on ASEAN market due to its steady economic growth. ASEAN enterprises may also actively seize the opportunity. The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road has played a positive role in economic restructuring and development for China and ASEAN countries."His views can always give people a fresh feel. 

Unswerving cultivator 

For 25 years, Xu Ningning has been committed to promoting business activities among China and the ASEAN countries.He set his footsteps on every inch of land of China and ten ASEAN countries; he wrote a number of books for the purpose of promoting mutually beneficial cooperation of China -ASEAN business; he was invited to deliver more than 400 ASEAN business reports nationwide with a frank attitude. 

"My colleagues are not willing to travel with me.They always complain about my very tight schedule."Xu Ningning laughs in the interview.

Reporter learned from his secretary's mouth that Xu Ningning always takes rest on plane while get to work off plane when he goes for a business trip. He often works around the clock in every place to participate in the meeting, preaches the Maritime Silk Road Initiative, interpret the FTA, have business meetings and go for site visits in enterprises. Experts like Xu Ningning is very rare to be seen who has spent 25 years constantly in his efforts to promote China - ASEAN economic and trade cooperation and stand in front of the China - ASEAN business research. 

"I regard it normal and nature pattern for 25 years. I work happily and it has been a lifestyle." Xu Ningning said with a smile.

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