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Insights of Mr. Xu Ningning about economic cooperation between China and ASEAN in fighting COVID-19

Post Time:2021-01-27 10:12:06

Insights of Mr. Xu Ningning about economic cooperation between China and ASEAN in fighting COVID-19

From April to December, 2020, 25 meetings of the China-ASEAN Business Council (CABC) were held both online and offline. Mr. Xu Ningning, Executive Director of CABC, delivered a speech or a keynote speech, analyzing the economic cooperation between China and ASEAN in the fight against the epidemic and putting forward relevant suggestions.

Among the 25 meetings, Economic Ministers and Ambassadors from ASEAN countries attended most of them and delivered speeches or keynote speeches. Commercial Counselors, business leaders and business representatives of the relevant ASEAN Embassies in China exchanged views, discussed and cooperated with their Chinese counterparts, expressed their desire for cooperation of jointly contributing to the development of friendly diplomatic relationships between China and ASEAN countries, as well as enhancing cooperation between the two sides for economic recovery in the prevention and control of COVID-19. Among the 25 meetings, the largest number of participants were more than 4,000, and participants are all representatives from China and ASEAN countries.

CABC is one of the cooperation dialogue mechanisms between the two sides. In 2001, the then Chinese Premier of the State Council attended the opening ceremony of CABC and announced its establishment.

The general standpoints of Mr. Xu Ningning, Executive Chairman of CABC at 25 meetings are as follows:

--In 2020, trade and investment between China and ASEAN grew against the previous trend. China and ASEAN are the largest trading partner and important investment partner of each other, which is determined by the nature of both sides. The outcome of cooperation was hard-won.

--At present, strengthening economic and trade cooperation between two sides is an important countermeasure to combat COVID-19, and focusing on fighting the epidemic and boosting economy is the top priority of bilateral cooperation.

-- COVID-19 has emphasized the significance of building One Belt and One Road jointly. Deepening the cooperation between China and ASEAN in One Belt and One Road is an urgent need not only for fighting against the epidemic but also for economic development.

Xu put forward suggestions on enhancing bilateral economic cooperation, construction of RCEP and sustainable development cooperation, on the current economic and trade cooperation between China and ASEAN countries in terms of local, industrial and enterprise development, and on the investment choice of Chinese enterprises toward specific industries and countries of ASEAN.

Xu suggested that China and ASEAN should further strengthen the implementation of regional cooperation with the aim of sharing destiny and working hand in hand; should promote the interconnected development of bilateral trade in goods, investment cooperation and trade in services. As neighboring countries, China and ASEAN have both common needs and conditions when strengthening industrial cooperation during the prevention and control of the epidemic. The development of digital economy cooperation should be integrated with regional market opening, industrial cooperation and connectivity cooperation. The China Pilot Free Trade Zone is actively promoting cooperation with ASEAN, which demonstrates that China is taking action to expand its opening-up during the fight of epidemic globally. Local governments are playing an active role in China-ASEAN cooperation and should continue on. The business communities of the two sides should jointly push for the signed RCEP to go through the domestic legal approval procedures respectively so as to bring it into force as soon as possible.

 

Achieve sustainable development through cooperation

At the China-ASEAN Summit held in November 2020, leaders of the two sides identified ‘Cooperation on Sustainable Development’ as the theme of cooperation for 2021. On December 31, 2020, the Seminar on Sustainable Development Cooperation between China and ASEAN was held. Mr. Xu Ningning, Chairman of the China Foundation for International Studies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Indonesian Ambassador to China, and Former Director General of the Asian Department of the Ministry of Commerce delivered speeches.

Xu said in his speech that it will be the 30th anniversary in 2021 since the establishment of dialogue relationship between China and ASEAN. Over the years, while China and ASEAN have been implementing sustainable development, ensuring the effective implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, both sides communicated and reflected on their experience, supported and coordinated actions with each other, and finally achieved satisfactory results of cooperation.

Xu said that the theme of bilateral cooperation in 2021 will focus on sustainable development, and industrial cooperation is conducive to sustainable development cooperation. In 2021, the two sides will closely cooperate in the combat of COVID-19, trade and investment expansion, increased connectivity, development of digital economy, enhancement of ecological environment protection, disaster prevention and mitigation, response to climate change, poverty alleviation, improvement of labor skills, construction of infrastructure, agricultural development, upgrading of industrial structure and other areas. The series of cooperation above will strengthen the relationship after 30 years since establishment, countering the potential risk together and striving forward.

 

Measures of seizing the opportunities of the openness of RCEP

On December 29, Roundtable on the Development of RCEP and Guangzhou, China was held. Vice Mayor of Guangzhou and Former Ambassador of China to Japan delivered speeches. Mr. Xu Ningning delivered a keynote speech.

Xu Ningning said in his keynote speech that the main features of RCEP construction are as follows:

First, RCEP has the foundation of FTA. RCEP is integrated by five ‘10+1’ FTA, so RCEP has the foundation of FTA. Over the past decade, the five ‘10+1’ strategic partnerships have promoted a series of cooperation, which is based on connectivity, political, economic and humanity ooperation.

Second, ASEAN is leading RCEP. One of the characteristics of East Asian is that it is initiated and led by ASEAN, which mainly consists of developing countries.

Third, there is a growing need for cooperation among RCEP countries and there is a growing demand for cooperation in exploiting of regional development space, addressing the sluggish growth of the world economy over the years and the current severe downturn, as well as countering international trade protectionism.

Fourth, there is a close trade and investment relationship among RCEP countries,  reflecting the strong industrial complementarity.

Fifth, after eight years of negotiations, CABC has fully prepared for the changes brought about by the opening of the market.

On the urgency of RCEP construction, Mr. Xu Ningning mentioned:

1. Member States should complete and fulfill the domestic legal examination and approval procedures respectively

First, Mr. Li Keqiang, Premier of State Council chaired an executive meeting of the State Council on December 1, and made arrangements to accelerate the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Second, try to make sure the agreement of every member states. RCEP comes into effect requires ratification by at least nine of the 15 members, including at least six ASEAN members and at least three of China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. The key to the agreement of every member states is industry. An important part of the current RCEP construction is to strengthen industrial synergy and cooperation. Through negotiations, the signing of the agreement, mainly a system arrangement, RCEP countries establish a new type of production relations, to achieve liberation of productive forces, promote economic growth, which is an important link between industry cooperation, to promote trade and trade creation, promote two-way investment, to countries in the region of the RCEP complementary advantages of the industrial structure adjustment, promote industrial upgrading, industrial upgrading to stimulate economic growth.

In the joint construction of "One Belt One Road" between China and ASEAN, industrial cooperation is of great importance. It can bring about cooperation between enterprises of the two sides from the shallower to the deeper, which is conducive to the construction of a new industrial chain with complementary advantages of each country, and the enhancement of productivity, risk resistance and international competitiveness of the region.

To further enhance industrial alignment and cooperation, there isn’t enough time for countries to complete their domestic approval procedures. One of the key points in each country's implementation of the domestic ratification process is for fear of the impact on industry after opening up the market. By binding each other's strengths and complementing each other's weaknesses, the current industrial cooperation among countries can reduce the concerns of some industrial enterprises about the possible industrial impact caused by the opening of the market in certain countries.

2. Current actions of the business communities of both sides

First, both sides should jointly promote RCEP to come into effect as early as possible. It is important to give full play to the role of chambers of commerce and trade associations in the construction of RCEP, promote industrial cooperation, and lay a solid economic foundation for RCEP.

Second, both sides should support the fight against COVID-19. The epidemic situation in some ASEAN countries is severe, which restricts the opening of the market. So the business community should actively support some ASEAN countries in fighting the epidemic.

3. Domestic aspects: research-scheme-training

Domestic local governments should combine the implementation of "double cycle" economic development with RCEP open market and regional cooperation. Drawing lessons from the successful experience before China's accession to the WTO in the early years, China should strengthen RCEP study, formulate countermeasures, and vigorously carry out training. By strengthening RCEP research, China can formulate targeted plans and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of cooperation. Enhancing RCEP research should include:

First, study the major concerns of current RCEP member states.

Second, study cooperating direction and measures of among RCEP member states, the multilateral relations and bilateral relations within the RCEP region, such as the political and economic relations and industrial relations between South Korea and ASEAN, Japan and Australia, and the possible changes before and after the implementation of RCEP.

Third, study the relations and the industrial relations between RCEP member states and the outside regions, and the possible new changes before and after the implementation of RCEP.

Fourth, research should not only have innovative basic theoretical results, but also need to have research reports with strong feasibility. International cooperation research on RCEP, and cooperation research between government, industry and academic community should be strengthened.

Timely and thorough research is conducive to the implementation of the open development policy and its actions, and the active cooperation between relevant departments in China. It is also helpful to find the focus of work, improve the efficiency of cooperation in a targeted way, and promote the RCEP construction to achieve the expected goal.Mr. Xu Ningning said at the meeting, let both sides welcome the New Year with new cooperation attitude and full confidence.

 

Coordination and cooperation in logistics should be detailed and solid

On December 28, the China-ASEAN Logistics Industry Cooperation Matchmaking Meeting was held. Leaders of logistics associations from the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia and other countries and the International Freight Forwarders Association attended the meeting and exchanged views with Chinese representatives. The two sides actively expressed their desire to enhance cooperation.

Mr. Xu Ningning pointed out in his speech that logistics industries in both sides are highly complementary and interconnected. In the fight against the epidemic and the prevention of the economic downturn, two sides need to work together to solve the bottleneck in trade and logistics that current epidemic has brought about. China-ASEAN logistics industry and its enterprises play a prominent role in cooperation. During trade growth between China and ASEAN is against the trend, there are many business cooperation opportunities for logistics enterprises. After the RCEP comes into effect, it will open up trade in goods among countries in the region to a high level and greatly promote the growth of trade and investment among countries in the region, which will provide a broader space for the development of China-ASEAN logistics industry.

Mr. Xu Ningning put forward the following suggestions on enhancing bilateral logistics cooperation:

1. Both sides should implement the cooperation consensus reached between China, and member states of ASEAN, and support the development of transport connectivity and logistics system. Hold a meeting of the China-ASEAN Connectivity Cooperation Committee as soon as possible. On the premise of ensuring the prevention and control of the epidemic, both sides will take measures to facilitate the flow of people and goods. While speeding up the construction of the existing economic corridor, both sides will actively build a China-ASEAN multimodal transport alliance.

2. Relevant government departments of both sides should ensure detailed and solid coordination of policies and plans for strengthening logistics cooperation and development. Bilateral Joint Economic and Trade Commission should play a good institutional role in strengthening logistics cooperation, and strengthen logistics cooperation contents in the Five-Year Plan for Bilateral Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and ASEAN countries. Both sides should strengthen cooperation in customs, inspection and quarantine, and standards, strengthen financial and other policy support for logistics cooperation, support the development of logistics industrial parks, and jointly develop demonstration projects for logistics cooperation.

3. Logistics enterprises, freight forwarders and cross-border e-commerce companies of both sides should give full play to the cooperation. The logistics and freight forwarder associations of both sides should strengthen the mechanism construction of industrial cooperation and development and enhance the level of international cooperation.

4. Local governments in China should closely link the implementation of "double-cycle" economic development with the promotion of international and regional logistics cooperation, and strive to improve the level of international logistics cooperation and the degree of integration into international and regional cooperation.

In the past seven years, CABC has actively promoted the cooperation in the logistics industry between China and ASEAN in the joint building of the Maritime Silk Road. In 2014, led by CABC, freight logistics association of Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Singapore and Freight Forwarders Association in other ASEAN countries and Chinese representatives jointly initiated and established the China-ASEAN logistics industry cooperation committee. Delegates signed the memorandum of understanding. The purpose of the cooperation committee is to promote the mutual complementarity and common development of the logistics industry and its enterprises of both sides in the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area.

 

Build a high-quality China-ASEAN Free Trade Area

On November 28, the Forum on the 10th Anniversary of the Completion of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area was held, which was hosted by the Ministry of Commerce of China, the economic and trade departments of the 10 ASEAN governments and the Guangxi government. Mr. Xu Ningning delivered a keynote speech on China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA): Situation, Trends and Suggestions.

Xu said that the current economic cooperation between China and ASEAN is generally judged as follows: two sides are enjoying comprehensive, in-depth, active and close cooperation and the results of cooperation have not come easily. China-ASEAN cooperation needs to be strengthened, and opportunities outweigh challenges.

Xu said that CAFTA has played an important role in today's situation, which has been formed since the establishment of dialogue partnership between two sides nearly 30 years ago. Since its establishment ten years ago, CAFTA has promoted the economic growth of China and the ten ASEAN countries, accelerating the process of regional economic integration, and making contributions to the world economic growth.

Xu made the following suggestions on building high-quality CAFTA:

1. Strengthen the purpose of cooperation, ensure detailed and solid cooperation, improve upgrading efficiency.

The economic and trade cooperation between China and ASEAN has been launched comprehensively. There are many areas for cooperation and a lot to be done. The priority areas of cooperation (industries and projects) should be highly relevant and complementary to both parties, which are easily launched and cooperated, and are effective. They include cooperation to the combat of epidemic, poverty reduction, new routes for international land and sea trade, and the digital economy.

2. Further implement the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement and upgrade the Protocol, enhance regional trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, creating favorable conditions for the development of the RCEP. Expand the scope of benefits of RCEP and reduce resistance when promoting the implementation of RCEP.

3. Give full play to the important role of the China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in promoting regional cooperation. In terms of holding the Expo and the Summit successfully, there are three suggestions: first, reflect the concerns of both sides. Second, strengthen the co-construction of the platform; Third, focus on practical cooperation.

 

The outcomes of cooperation between China and ASEAN have not come easily

On September 24, China (Zhejiang)-ASEAN Economic and Trade Cooperation Matchmaking meeting was held. The meeting was hosted by CABC and Zhejiang Provincial Department of Commerce. Participants from China and ASEAN actively expressed their desire for cooperation and recommended business cooperation opportunities.

Mr. Xu Ningning, Ambassador to China of the Philippines, Ambassador to China of Indonesia, Ambassador to China of Myanmar and Deputy Director-General of Commerce Department of Zhejiang Province delivered speeches. At the opening ceremony, Mr. Xu Ningning said that facing severe situation of the Covid-19 and the severe disruption of global trade, the economic and trade between China and ASEAN have been growing against the trend since this year, which was a hard-won achievement. Four main reasons for this achievement are as follows:

First, mutual needs are the basis for cooperation. The enhancement of cooperation serves the development interests of all countries and regions.

Second, leadership is the key to cooperation. Each party should respect each other, address the big picture, be innovative and pragmatic, and seek agreements while shelving differences.

Third, the win-win status is the vitality of cooperation. Countries have benefited from cooperation through active communication and mutual support.

Fourth, motivating all parties concerned and utilizing various resources is an important reinforcement for cooperation. In particular, enterprises have played a vital role in the economic cooperation.

 

 

Promote the interconnected development of bilateral trade in goods, investment cooperation and trade in services

On September 7, the China-ASEAN Service Industry Cooperation Forum was held in video conference. Mr. Xu Ningning said the development of trade in services should be promoted because it is a new engine for regional economic growth, an important support for trade in goods and investment, and an important measure for cooperation in fighting the epidemic,.

Ambassador of Malaysia to China and President of China Business Federation delivered speeches. China-ASEAN Service Industry Cooperation Forum is one of the series of meetings of China International Trade in Services Fair 2020. China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services is a national-level, international, comprehensive, large-scale exhibition and trading platform.

The main idea of Mr. Xu Ningning's speech of the meeting is as follows:

The speeches and communications of participants have expressed their positive wish to enhance cooperation in the service sector, which indicates that China-ASEAN cooperation in the service sector has broad prospects.

There is a huge space for cooperation in the service sector and great potential for cooperation in many industries. Goods trade and investment cooperation development need to increase services in financial, business, sales, exhibition, transportation, advertising, lawyers and accountants, computer and related fields, research and development, construction and related engineering fields, education, health and social, and travel related fields, etc.. So there is a rising demand for enterprise and professional organizations of the services mentioned above, and the developing opportunities are growing.

China and member states of ASEAN need to further clarify the purpose of service trade cooperation and development, taking service trade cooperation and development as a new engine of regional economic growth, as an important support for bilateral trade in goods, investment and development, and as an important measure of cooperation in fighting the epidemic.

The government departments of the two sides need to ensure detailed and concrete efforts to coordinate policies on strengthening trade in services cooperation and development. Digital economic cooperation between China and ASEAN in 2020 should be built together or based on a digital platform, intelligent logistics service system, product traceability system, as well as the implementation of digital financial services (including cargo insurance, settlement and settlement), Unicom consumption and production, supply and manufacturing, and the data flow between the products and services and product flow, linking the industry manufacture and development of foreign trade.

The business associations in the service fields of both sides need to strengthen the mechanism construction of industrial cooperation and development, improve the level of industrial cooperation, provide information and broaden the channels of cooperation for enterprises. Enterprises of both sides should take advantages of the cooperation consensus between the two governments to find the right entry point for market development and give full play to their creativity.

In recent years, CABC has set up the China-ASEAN Logistics Industry Cooperation Committee and the China-ASEAN Convention and Exhibition Industry Cooperation Committee to facilitate cooperation between service companies of the two sides. CABC will actively implement the relevant consensus reached by the leaders of the two sides and promote the interconnected development of trade in goods, investment cooperation and trade in services.

 

Focusing on combating the epidemic and the economy is the top priority of China-ASEAN cooperation

On September 2, Working with the Philippines: Seeking Business Opportunities for Development was held via video conference. Mr. Xu Ningning said that focusing on combating the epidemic and the economy is the top priority of bilateral cooperation.

The meeting will be co-hosted by CABC and the Philippine Embassy in China. Mr. Xu Ningning and Philippine Ambassador to China delivered speeches, and Deputy Secretary of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry delivered a keynote speech. The Director of the Philippine Investment Agency, the Executive Vice President of the Philippine Base Conversion and Development Authority, and the General Manager of Megaworld International Group of the Philippines delivered speeches to promote business opportunities. Shandong Port Group, Jinxin Group (Wuxi) and the head office of China Construction Bank have expressed their positive wishes to conduct business cooperation with the Philippines.

Leaders of the China Machinery Industry Federation, China Electricity Council, China Leather Association, the China Agricultural Machinery Association, China Plastic Processing Industry Association, China Information Industry Chamber of Commerce, China Building Materials Circulation Association, China Association for Medical Devices and China Stone Association, China Instruments Industry Association and other national association leaders said association will assist the enterprises to enter into the Philippines.

The main contents of Mr. Xu Ningning's speech at the opening ceremony are as follows:

The convening of this meeting reflects that China and the Philippines, as neighbors, have shared destiny and are overcoming difficulties together. The meeting is aimed at enhancing economic and trade cooperation and promoting economic development in the fight against the epidemic. At present, it is effective to strengthen international cooperation of responding to the global economic downturn caused by COVID-19.

Mutual concern and benefit are the driving force of cooperation, which is crucial to its effectiveness and sustainability. Mutual and enhanced understanding is an important guarantee for cooperation, relating to positive aspects of expanding cooperation and the reduction of the negative constraints of cooperation. To be inclusive and draw on strengths to complement weaknesses is an important path for China-ASEAN cooperation, which bears on the joint development of both sides. Innovation-driven and practicability are the real needs of cooperation and bears on the focus of actions. CABC suggests that enterprises of the two sides make good use of the China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit platforms to be held in 2020.

In recent years, under the joint guidance of the leaders of the two countries and joint efforts of relevant parties of both sides, the friendly relationship and economic and trade cooperation between China and the Philippines have achieved positive results, which has laid a good foundation for enhancing economic and trade cooperation in the joint fight against the epidemic.

Cooperation in crisis is the most precious kind of cooperation. During a phone conversation with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on June 11, Chinese leaders emphasized that the epidemic is a crisis, but both sides should have the courage to seize new opportunities in the crisis and embracing the changing situation.

 

Suggestions on enhancing development and the current economic and trade cooperation with ASEAN of Chinese local, industrial and enterprise

On August 5, China (Shaanxi) -ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fair was held. Mr. Xu Ningning, Vice Governor of Shaanxi Province, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Philippines, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Laos and Ambassador of Thailand delivered speeches.

Vice Director of Shaanxi Provincial Department of Commerce presided over the meeting. President of Shaanxi Provincial Council for the Promotion of International Trade, President of Myanmar National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vice President of Vietnam National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other speakers communicated and exchanged views. The meeting was co-hosted by CABC and Shaanxi Provincial Department of Commerce, taking the form of both online and offline. Participants discussed the wishes of cooperation in their speeches and communications.

The main contents of Mr. Xu Ningning's speech at the opening ceremony are as follows:

Since 2020, ASEAN has historically become China's largest trading partner, attracting worldwide attention. 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area. The development of economic and trade cooperation between China and ASEAN fully demonstrate the vitality of growth brought about by multilateralism and free trade policies.

Despite the severity of the current global epidemic and the sharp slowdown in world economic growth, China has the confidence to counter the difficulties emerging from the crisis hand in hand. The following three suggestions are put forward to enhance economic and trade cooperation between China and ASEAN in terms of local, industrial and enterprise development:

First, Chinese local governments will combine the implementation of "six stability" and the "six guarantees" with the expansion of opening up and the development of ASEAN trade and investment cooperation, striving to improve the level of implementation and integration of relevant local authorities into international and regional cooperation.

Second, relevant industries and sectors in China are actively connecting with those encouraged by ASEAN to jointly build new industrial chains that complement each other and foster new areas of growth for cooperation.

Third, enterprises of the two sides will seek development in the fight against the epidemic with a strong sense of innovation, business opportunities and regional cooperation, and with firm confidence and active actions in overcoming the epidemic

The development of digital economy cooperation should be integrated with regional market opening, industrial cooperation and connectivity cooperation

The theme of China-ASEAN cooperation for 2020 is digital economy cooperation. On July 29, the 2020 Cloud Forum for International Cooperation in the Digital Economy was held online. Mr. Xu Ningning said in his speech that enhancing digital economy cooperation will help prevent and control the epidemic, promote new development of bilateral trade and investment, and drive economic recovery and growth. He suggested that the development of digital economy cooperation should be organically combined with regional market opening, industrial cooperation and connectivity.

The conference is co-sponsored by CABC and China-ASEAN Science and Technology Industry Cooperation Committee and organized by Guangxi Qidi Science and Technology City Group. Mr. Xu Ningning, Philippines Ambassador to China, Laos Ambassador to China, Myanmar Ambassador to China, Chairman of TusHoldings Ltd. and Chairman of the Chinese side of China-ASEAN Science and Technology Industry Cooperation Committee delivered speeches successively.

The main contents of Xu Ningning's speech at the opening ceremony are as follows:

The close trade and investment relationship between the two sides has created favorable conditions for the cooperation and development of the digital economy between the two sides, which has generated a lot of demand and business opportunities.

In recent years, the digital economy cooperation between the two sides has become increasingly active and close, and there is a strong demand for business cooperation, laying a solid foundation for the two sides to enhance digital economy cooperation. So it is the right time to develop cooperation relationships.

Relevant parties of all countries should work together to actively implement the cooperation consensus already reached and expand new consensus. Statement following published this year all requires the cooperation of digital economy, including the China-ASEAN COVID-19 Special Foreign Minister Joint Statement, the ASEAN and China, Japan and South Korea (10+3) combating COVID-19 Joint Statement--Leaders at a Special Meeting, the China-ASEAN economic and trade minister about fighting COVID-19 to strengthen trade cooperation Joint Statement,  the ASEAN and China, Japan and South Korea (10+3) economic and trade minister about ease COVID-19 Joint Statement Regarding the Impact of Economic, etc..

It is very important for the two sides to actively implement the cooperation consensus they have reached, which directly relates to epidemic prevention and control and economic recovery. In particular, the two sides should share digital epidemic prevention and combat and promote cooperation.

Both sides should promote cooperation on digital economy by opening up markets regionally and work with relevant countries to ensure the signing of the RCEP within this year. The opening up and development of the Guangxi Pilot Free Trade Zone, the Yunnan Pilot Free Trade Zone, the Hainan Free Trade Port, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and the new land-sea trade corridor should add more cooperation in digital economy field.

Both sides should combine cooperation on digital economy with industrial cooperation and connectivity, adding more elements of the former to the latter. In light of the new situation, both sides should actively implement the China-ASEAN Joint Statement on Connectivity and Cooperation regarding the One Belt One Road Initiative and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC2025). Actively implement the Joint Statement of China-ASEAN Transport Ministers on Responding to the New World Epidemic to Ensure Unhindered Logistics Chain and Help Restore Work and Production, adopted on July 16. Support the development of transport connectivity and logistics system, and maintain the stability of supply chain, industrial chain and value chain.

Both sides should simulate the enthusiasm and creativity of enterprises in developing digital economy cooperation; jointly support enterprises in utilizing digital technology and digital trade, especially small and medium-sized enterprises. Business associations of both sides should play a full role in helping enterprises cooperate in digital economy. In digital economy cooperation, enterprises of the two sides should take advantage of policies and existing bilateral cooperation mechanisms, understand the epidemic prevention and control measures, development concerns, economic stimulus plans and industrial policies of countries in the region, make good use of the preferential policies of the free trade zone, and find the right entry point for market development with the help of the cooperation consensus between governments of both sides. When Chinese enterprises engaged in digital economy are entering into ASEAN to seize business opportunities, they should thoroughly study the feasibility of early projects, choose good partners and avoid detours. China's state-owned enterprise should actively contribute to bilateral digital economy cooperation. Enterprises from China and ASEAN will work together to build a digital Silk Road and its extension.

2020 is the year when the digital economy was facing development. Responding to the new situation, developing new business forms and exploring new patterns is where the vitality of China-ASEAN cooperation lies.

 

Pursue regional cooperation that shares a common destiny and works hand in hand

On July 22, China (Hubei) Pilot Free Trade Zone-ASEAN Investment and Trade Cooperation Exchange Meeting was held. Mr. Xu Ningning said in his speech that economic cooperation between China and ASEAN is forging ahead while both sides are working together to fight the epidemic,

The conference is co-hosted by CABC, China (Hubei) Pilot Free Trade Zone Work Office and Hubei Provincial Department of Commerce. Mr. Xu Ningning, Lao Ambassador to China and Deputy Director-General of Hubei Provincial Department of Commerce delivered speeches successively.

At the meeting, the Management Committee of Wuhan East Lake New Technology Development Zone, the Management Committee of Xiangyang Free Trade Zone and the Management Committee of Yichang High-tech Zone introduced investment projects. Business Counselors from relevant ASEAN Embassies in China, Business Leaders from the Thai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other ASEAN countries actively expressed their willingness to cooperate in their speeches. Entrepreneurs of the two sides communicated and exchanged views.

At the meeting, Hubei Free Trade Area Work Office, CABC, Management Committee of Wuhan East Lake New Technology Development Zone, and Management Committee of Xiangyang Free Trade Area signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Management Committee of Yichang High-tech Zone (Free Trade Area), and the Philippines Silk Road International Chamber of Commerce and Thailand Food Processors Association.

The main contents of Xu Ningning's speech at the opening ceremony are as follows:

Since 2020, facing the serious block of the world trade, investment and personnel exchanges between goods caused by the spread COVID-19, China and ASEAN support and cooperate with each other not only in combating the epidemic, but also in economic areas. This not only sets an example for promoting international economic cooperation during COVID-19, but also plays an important role of preventing the world economic downturn to a certain extent.

2020 was an extraordinary year. It was a year in which countries faced the test of their destiny, prosperity and cooperation. Pursuing regional cooperation with shared destiny is an important and inevitable choice for China and ASEAN to stand the test and rise above it. There are still 10 years away from the realization of the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership Vision 2030. The coming decade will be a crucial decade for mutually beneficial cooperation between China and ASEAN. Let China and ASEAN start a new decade of common progress with friendly, comprehensive, in-depth, innovative and practical cooperation on the basis of trust, mutual understanding, connectivity and assistance.

 

Chinese enterprises’ choices of industries and countries when investing in ASEAN countries

On July 17, "China (Yantai)-ASEAN Import and Export Commodities Seminar" was held, which was co-hosted by CABC and Yantai Municipal Government. Mr. Xu Ningning and Deputy Mayor of Yantai government delivered speeches.

At the meeting, there were four sessions in the food industry, medicine and anti-epidemic supplies, machinery and electronic appliances, e-commerce and logistics, and the entrepreneurs of the two sides had counterpart negotiations. Chairmen of the Thai Food Processors Association, Malaysian Tea Association, Myanmar Fruits and Vegetables Sandar Myo, the ASEAN Food and Beverage Alliance, the Philippine Federation of Chinese Medicines, the Malaysian Federation of Chinese Medicine, the Thai Medical and Healthcare Equipment Manufacturers Industry Club, the Myanmar Industry Association, the Malaysian Hardware, Machinery and Building Materials Association, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Malaysian Freight Forwarders Association, the Cambodia Logistics Association promoted the business opportunities in the country.

The main contents of Xu Ningning's speech at the opening ceremony are as follows:

In the first half of 2020, despite the rampant outbreak of Covid-19 worldwide and the severe impact faced by international trade, trade between China and ASEAN grew by 5.6% year on year, which was against the previous trend. Specifically, China's exports to ASEAN grew by 3.4% year on year, and China's imports from ASEAN grew by 8.5% year on year. China-ASEAN trade accounted for 14.7% of China's total foreign trade, which was an increase of 1.2 % compared to the same period last year. Over the same period, trade between China and the European Union fell 1.8% year on year, while trade between China and the United States fell 6.6%. The trade volume between China and ASEAN was 349.97 billion RMB more than that of the EU, China's second largest trading partner.

From January to May, two-way investment between China and ASEAN grew against the previous trend. China's direct investment in ASEAN increased by 50.7% year on year, and ASEAN's actual investment in China increased by 13% year on year. Among the top 10 non-financial direct investments made by Chinese enterprises in 54 countries along the "One Belt One Road" route, there are seven ASEAN countries, namely Singapore, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Thailand.

The enhanced cooperation between China and ASEAN highlighted its current and long-term, as well as regional and global significance. The integrated economic development of both sides has not only boosted the economic growth of China and the ten ASEAN countries, but also promoted the economic integration process in East Asia and contributed to the global economic growth of the region. In recent years, bilateral cooperation has shown a momentum of comprehensive, in-depth, close and dynamic development. To achieve greater mutual benefit and win-win results requires further efforts of both sides.

Regarding to Chinese enterprises’ choices of industries and countries when investing in ASEAN countries, notable industry include which ASEAN countries encourage investment, match the plan of developing economic and trade cooperation with China-ASEAN countries, relate to the resource development, relate to the industrial chain, relate to the development of digital economy, satisfy the daily consumption, and set up industry products in ASEAN planning to sell to a broader international market. The selection of a particular ASEAN country for investment requires comprehensive consideration of many factors, including the prevention and control situation of COVID-19, industrial structure and policies.

 

Put forward five suggestions on enhancing bilateral cooperation

On June 30, China (Fujian)-ASEAN Economic and Trade Cooperation Promotion Conference was held via video conference. Director of the Department of Commerce of Fujian Province presided over the meeting. Mr. Xu Ningning, Vice Governor of Fujian Province, Deputy Director General of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Commerce of China, Ambassador of Brunei to China and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry of the Philippines delivered speeches successively.

Mr. Xu Ningning put forward five suggestions on enhancing China-ASEAN economic cooperation in his speech at the meeting.

First, implement consensus that countries have already reached on cooperation, including the China-ASEAN COVID-19 Special Foreign Minister Joint Statement, Japan and South Korea (10 + 3) Combat COVID-19 Leaders at a Special Meeting Joint Statement, the China-ASEAN Economic and Trade Minister Strengthen Trade Cooperation when fighting COVID-19 Joint Statement, ASEAN, China, Japan and South Korea (10 + 3) Economic and Trade Minister about easing the economic impact of COVID-19 outbreak Joint Statement  几个联合声明, etc.

Second, in the new normal of prevention and control of the epidemic and economic recovery, further emphasize the cooperation concept of being interdependent, communicate and collaborate in times of difficulty, speed up the opening and broadening of the "green channel", and support the construction of the projects under cooperation.

Third, strengthen industrial cooperation, jointly build a new industrial chain that complements strengths of both sides, and lead growth through innovation such as increasing cooperation in the digital economy.

Fourth, make clear that regional cooperation is an important solution to current difficulties and long-term development. Following the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, both sides should strive to enhance the level of regional cooperation, actively tap the potential of regional cooperation, and ensure the signing of the RCEP by the end of 2020, so as to deepen regional cooperation to meet the severe challenges posed by the complex and volatile international situation.

Fifth, give full play to the enthusiasm and creativity of local governments and enterprises in enhancing bilateral cooperation. The Economic and Trade Cooperation between China (Fujian) and ASEAN Promotion Meeting shows Fujian's active role in cooperation with ASEAN during the joint construction of "One Belt One Road". The vast majority of the 4,000 people watching the conference online are enterprises, which reflects the positive willingness of enterprises for cooperation. At present, China hope that more provinces and cities will hold such meetings and more enterprises will participate in the docking, so as to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of cooperation and achieve win-win development in the process of enhancing mutual understanding of new situations and promoting business opportunities to each other.

 

Deepen cooperation to jointly build the "One Belt One Road" between both sides, which is an urgent need not only to defeat the COVID-19 but also to develop the economy

On June 11, Seminar on China-ASEAN Economic Cooperation during the Global Epidemic was held. Mr. Xu Ningning said in his speech that the two sides need to deepen cooperation to jointly build the "One Belt One Road", which is an urgent need not only to overcome the disease but also to develop the economy.

Mr. Xu Ningning and Mr. Zhang Jiuhuan, Former Director-General of the Asian Department of the Ministry of Foreign and Former Ambassador to Singapore and Then Ambassador to Thailand delivered speeches at the beginning of the meeting.

Deputy Head of Department of Commerce of Guangdong, Deputy Secretary General China-ASEAN EXPO Secretariat, Chairman of China Electronic Commerce Association, Vice President of China National Textiles Import and Export Chamber of Commerce, Vice Chairman and Secretary General of China Transportation Association, Vice President of China Sewing Machinery Association, Secretary General of Chamber of the Oil Industry All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, Vice President of Chinese Enterprises (Singapore) Association, a well-known Chinese studies expert on Vietnam of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Deputy Director of Brunei Embassy, Business Counselor of the ASEAN countries Embassy, leaders of ASEAN Business Association such as Construction Association of Cambodia, delivered speeches and communicated together.

Leaders of China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products, China Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Association, All-China Chamber of Commerce for Jewelry Precious Metals Industry, China Petroleum & Petrochemical Equipment; Industry Association(CPEIA), China Building Materials Federation, China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing and other associations attended the conference.

The main contents of Mr. Xu Ningning's speech at the opening ceremony are as follows:

Supported by the "One Belt One Road" initiative, China and ASEAN countries have actively cooperated with each other interdependently, exchanging experience and practices in fighting the epidemic, supporting each other by donations and anti-epidemic materials, and communicating and coordinating with each other.

Take the Philippines as an example. Up to now, the Chinese government has provided 250,000 servings of Cobas Tapscreen MPX, 80,000 pieces of medical protective clothing, 80,000 medical protective masks, 70,000 medical isolation eye masks, 1.4 million surgical masks and 50 invasive ventilator /respirators to the Philippines free of charge. The Chinese government has also sent a medical team of 12 doctors to the Philippines to fight the epidemic. Roughly over 40,000 local families in the Philippines were provided with basic livelihood by Chinese enterprises during the epidemic.

Thanks to the "One Belt One Road" cooperation, bilateral trade and investment have grown against the trend. Since the beginning of 2020, the ASEAN-China Special Foreign Ministers' Meeting on Covid-19 and the ASEAN-China, Japan and Korea (10+3) Special Leaders' Meeting on Covid-19 have been held successively. The Joint Statement issued by the meetings stressed the joint commitment to keep the trade and investment market open, restore economic growth and connectivity, maintain market stability, prevent the potential risk of economic recession, build a more resilient, sustainable and less vulnerable supply chain, and keep the supply chain unimpeded within and outside the region. On May 29, the Joint Statement of China-ASEAN Economic and Trade Ministers on Strengthening FTA Cooperation in Combating the Covid-19 Epidemic was released. On June 4, the Joint Statement of ASEAN and China, Japan and Korea (10+3) Economic and Trade Ministers on Mitigating the Economic Impact of the Covid-19 Epidemic was released.

Thanks to the "One Belt One Road" initiative, Chinese companies have fulfilled their social responsibilities in ASEAN countries, donating money and materials, and making great efforts to contribute to the fight against the epidemic. With their own practical actions, they have brought vitality of jointly building "One Belt One Road". Recently, cooperation of railway construction projects between China and Laos, cooperation of high-speed rail construction project between China and Indonesia, cooperation of highway construction project between China and Cambodia, cooperation of railway construction projects between China and the east coast of Malaysia, China’s funding to the Philippines two bridge construction projects on Pasig river, etc., are stepping up construction, seizing the construction period, trying to reduce the delayed time.

The spirit of openness and cooperation highlighted by "One Belt One Road" is exactly what is needed to deal with the global crisis. It has proven that during the fight against the epidemic, the achievement and content of "One Belt One Road" are further enriched, such as "Building Common Human Health Community" "Digital Silk Road", "Healthy Silk Road" are revealing, and more and more effective new cooperation pattern arises, laying a more solid foundation of a wider, higher, and deeper cooperation.

 

The China Pilot Free Trade Zone is actively promoting cooperation with ASEAN, which demonstrates that China is taking action to expand its opening-up in the global fight against the epidemic

On May 29, China (Qingdao)-ASEAN Economic and Trade Matchmaking Meeting was held. Mr. Xu Ningning said in his speech that the China (Shandong) Pilot Free Trade Zone is actively promoting cooperation with ASEAN, which demonstrates that China is taking action to expand its opening-up in the global fight against the epidemic.

Mr. Xu Ningning, Former Vice Chairman of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), Deputy Director of Qingdao Municipal People's Congress Standing Committee delivered speeches successively. Business Counselors of ASEAN countries Embassy, the Thailand-China Business Council, the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the China Hong Kong and Macau, Expatriate and Business Association of Cambodia, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, the Fishing Industry of Singapore Business Federation, the Malaysia Automobile Association,the Malaysia Logistics Association, Malaysia Garment Chamber of Commerce, the Indonesian Textile Industries Association, the Thai Shrimp Association, the Malaysian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China, the Singapore Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China, the Philippine Federation of Chinese Entrepreneurs and other leaders of Association of ASEAN Chamber of Commerce, well-known representatives of entrepreneurs communicated with representatives from Qingdao.

The main contents of Xu Ningning's speech at the opening ceremony are as follows:

ASEAN is a pioneer region in the implementation of multilateral cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative. It is the region that has the closest trade and investment relationship with China among the countries along the "One Belt One Road" route, and a cooperation region for Chinese enterprises to explore a broader international market.

The cooperation between China and the ten ASEAN countries has its own inherent nature and corresponding spillover. Cooperation and development between the two sides is conducive to the fundamental interests of the 11 countries , stability and growth in East Asia, the region's contribution to economic growth worldwide and the building of a new type of global international relations.

The meeting was aiming to enhance the pertinence and effectiveness of current economic cooperation. Qingdao and China (Shandong) Pilot Free Trade Zone Qingdao Area attach great importance to the development of cooperation with ASEAN countries, which reflects the positive actions of Qingdao in building the "One Belt One Road" and demonstrates the progress of expanding the opening up of China Pilot Free Trade Zone under the current world economic situation.

 

As neighbors, China and ASEAN have both common needs and conditions to strengthen industrial cooperation in the prevention and control of the epidemic

On May 22, China and ASEAN: Industrial Cooperation as Each Other's largest Trading Partner was held via video conference. The meeting was hosted by the CABC. Mr. Xu Ningning said in his speech that industry is the foundation of economic growth. As neighbors, China and ASEAN have both common needs and conditions to strengthen industrial cooperation in the prevention and control of the epidemic.

Minister and Counselor of Thailand Embassy, Chairman of Singapore Manufacturers Association, Executive Vice President of Khmer-Chinese Association In The Kingdom Of Cambodia, Secretary General of Thai-China Business Council, President of Burma Freight Forwarders Association, Honorary President of Singapore Food Manufacturers' Association and other representatives from ASEAN countries, Chairman of China Sandstone Association, Chairman of China Aquatic Product Processing and Marketing Alliance, Deputy President of China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products, Honorary President of China Leather Association, Vice Director and Secretary General of China Heavy Machinery Industry Association, Executive Vice President of China Association of Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers, President and Chairman of China Plastic Processing Industry Association, Vice Chairman of China Stone Material Association, Executive Vice President of China Power International Cooperation Union, Executive Vice President of China Electric Power Construction Association etc.communicated at the meeting.

The main contents of Mr. Xu Ningning's speech at the opening ceremony are as follows:

The two sides enjoy strong industrial complementarity, broad space and great potential for cooperation. Over the past 30 years since the establishment of dialogue partnership in 1991, the friendly relationship between the two sides has been continuously developing, creating favorable conditions for the joint fight against the epidemic and the enhancement of industrial cooperation.

The epidemic has brought a huge impact on the economies of all countries, and it also brought opportunities for regional economic and industrial restructuring and innovative development, including accelerating the development of the digital economy, optimizing the allocation of production factors, and paying more attention to tapping regional development potential and developing regional markets. China's large market, the most comprehensive industrial system worldwide and the fast speed to resume production amid the global epidemic will help ASEAN countries to support their export, improve industrial facilities and supply of raw materials.

Given that cooperation is an important and powerful weapon in the fight against the epidemic, we should actively inject energy into cooperation to overcome difficulties, and resolutely resist any negative words or actions that hinder cooperation. We should develop new ideas for cooperation, adhere to the principle of "extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits", and actively promote regional economic integration that brings us together in times of difficulties, strengthen communication and synergy between industrial policies adopted by countries in the prevention and control of the epidemic, jointly promote cooperation in industries that are severely affected by the epidemic, speed up cooperation in industries that are relatively less affected by the epidemic, and expand cooperation in industries that requires more demand from the epidemic.

 

COVID-19 has made it more important to build One Belt One Road

On May 20, Seminar on Anti-epidemic Cooperation between China and ASEAN was held. Mr. Xu Ningning said in the speech that since 2020, China and ASEAN cooperated during prevention of COVID-19, the epidemic has made it more important to build One Belt One Road.

Former Chinese ambassadors to relevant ASEAN countries attended the meeting. Former Director General of The Department of Asian Affairs of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Former Ambassador to Cambodia, Singapore and Thailand Mr. Fu Xuezhang; Former Director of The Department of Treaty and Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Former Ambassador to Indonesia Mr. Chen Shiqiu;Former Director General of The Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs, Former Ambassador to Cambodia, Korea, Thailand, Fukui Ning; Former Deputy Director General of Foreign Affairs Office in the State Council, Former ambassador to the Philippines, Mr. Huang Guifang; Former Ambassador to Malaysia Xi Chai; etc. expressed in their speeches that, facing complex and changeable international situation and serious epidemic, comprehensively deepen strategic partnership around China and ASEAN is of great practical significance and long-term significance.

At the meeting, leaders of Chinese Enterprises and Chamber of Commerce of ASEAN attended the meeting, delivering speeches to share measures of fighting COVID-19, including Bank of China Branch in Jakarta Governor, Chairman of Indonesia Chamber of Commerce in China, Mr. Zhang Chaoyang; Governor of the Bank of China, Brunei, Brunei Chinese enterprises association, Mr. Wang Xiaolin; Vice Chairman of China Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, Mr. Xiao Guoping; General Manager of the Asia-Pacific Regional Headquarters, in Malaysia's Chinese Chamber of Commerce secretary Mr. Liu Shaoquan, General Manager of Sanyi Thai company, Thai Chinese chamber of commerce Vice President and Secretary General, Mr. Da Rui.

At the meeting, China well-known scholars analyzed ASEAN situation, putting forward the suggestion on enhancing cooperation. Scholars include Deputy Director of China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations in southeast Asia and Oceania, Mr. Zhang XuegangResearcher of National Institute of International Strategy-Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Mr. Shen MinghuiDeputy Researcher of National Institute of International Strategy-Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Mr. Zhou FangzhiDean of School of International Relations, Jinan University, Mr. Zhang ZhenjiangDean of School of Asian and African Studies, Beijing Foreign Studies University(BFSU), Mrs. Su Yingying, Associate Professor of School of Asian and African Studies, BFSU, Mr. Song Qingrun, Director of Asian Studies, China Foreign Affairs University, Mr. Guo Yanjun.

The main contents of Mr. Xu Ningning's speech at the opening ceremony are as follows:

At present, thanks to the efforts of ASEAN countries to fight against COVID-19, the epidemic is getting better. In the past few months, China and ASEAN have worked actively to combat the epidemic, becoming more aware of the importance of being as close as lips and teeth, helping each other interdependently and sharing a common future, and have forged a close and good-neighborly relationship. 

Cooperation is an inevitable choice in fighting the epidemic. The epidemic has further enhanced the position of regional cooperation in countries' foreign relations, and the construction of the "One Belt One Road" and ASEAN Community has become more and more important, and it is more likely that the RCEP would reach an agreement by the end of 2020.

Closer economic cooperation relates to people’s livelihood and the prevention of economic downturn. Faced with the economic recession caused by COVID-19 and the possibility of fighting against the epidemic for a longer period of time, ASEAN countries are beginning to to recover economic life conditionally and gradually lift the restrictions. At the same time, while strengthening the prevention and control of the epidemic, China and ASEAN countries should actively resume trade conditionally, open up green channels, repair the industrial chain in the region damaged by the epidemic, and ensure the supply of the industrial chain. Convenient conditions should be provided for the key projects of cooperation and planned implementation of the two sides, so as to trim the sails and open up new ideas and push forward with the guarantee of the bottom line of epidemic prevention. In view of the increasing number of poor people in some ASEAN countries due to the epidemic, he suggested that bilateral poverty alleviation cooperation should be stepped up.

In the "first half" and "second half" of the cooperation in fighting the epidemic, Chinese Embassies in ASEAN countries enrolled all the way with a high sense of responsibility. Chinese enterprises in ASEAN countries have played a very active role in the fight against the epidemic, and Chinese enterprises' Chambers of Commerce have done a great job in organizing donations. Particularly commendable are the builders of the China-Laos Railway and the Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway (China and Indonesia), who have strictly implemented anti-epidemic measures and work hard on the construction sites suffering the heat. These projects will become monuments of the good-neighborly friendship between the two countries.

 

China and ASEAN are each other's largest trading partner, which is determined by its intrinsic nature

On May 11, China (Deyang)-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Matchmaking Meeting was held. Mr. Xu Ningning said in his speech that China and ASEAN are each other's largest trading partner, which is determined by their intrinsic nature.

The meeting was co-hosted by CABC, the CPC Deyang Municipal Committee, and the Deyang Municipal People's Government. Commercial Counselor of relevant ASEAN Embassies in China and Chairmen of the Philippine Silk Road International Chamber of Commerce, the Singapore Food Manufacturers Association, Malaysia The Yangtze River Huaqiang of the Association of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, the Myanmar Wood Industry Association, the China Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Association, the China Machinery Industry Federation, the China Textile Import and Export Chamber of Commerce, China Electricity Council, China Leather Association, China Sandstone Association, China Building Materials Circulation Association and Leaders of relevant national trade associations in China communicated with representatives of Deyang.

The main contents of Mr. Xu Ningning's speech at the opening ceremony are as follows:

It is not easy for both China and ASEAN to achieve an increase in exports and imports as the epidemic severely restricts trade.

The close trade relationship of both sides is determined by its inherent nature.

First, as neighbors, China and ASEAN are both committed to economic growth. Industries of both sides are highly complementary to each other, and there is broad space and great potential for cooperation.

Second, there are politic and commercial connections between both sides. Both sides established the dialogue partnership in 1991, the strategic partnership in 2003, and the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area in 2010. In the past seven years, the two sides have been building "One Belt One Road", which brings out the best in each other's integrated development and brings about close trade relationship.

Third, the development of production and living standards in China and ASEAN has led to the direct increase of demand for commodities mutually, the expansion of mutual investment by enterprises of both sides, the change of industrial division of labor between China and ASEAN countries by multinational corporations in developed countries in recent years, and the trade barriers set by the United States against China, all of which have brought about the growth of trade between China and ASEAN. China is the largest source of investment for many countries in ASEAN, and Chinese investment accounts for an increasing share of foreign investment in ASEAN.

 

Local governments are playing an active role in the cooperation between China and ASEAN

On April 30, China (Qingyun)-ASEAN Economic and Trade Cooperation Matchmaking Meeting was held. Mr. Xu Ningning said in his speech that local governments are playing a positive role in the cooperation between China and ASEAN, including the current joint fight against COVID-19.

Commercial Counselor of Embassy of Philippines in China; Chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Myanmar, Chairman of the Malaysian Chamber of Commerce and industry in China, General Manager from Thailand-China Rayong Industrial Park(翻译)communicated at the meeting.

At the opening ceremony of the meeting, Mr. Xu Ningning and Mr. Lv Kejian, Former Director of the Asian Department of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, delivered speeches successively. The main contents of Mr. Xu Ningning's speech are as follows:

In the past decade, especially since the construction of "One Belt One Road", the cooperation between Chinese local governments and ASEAN has been active, which has not only promoted local opening-up and development, but also laid a solid foundation for the friendship between China and ASEAN. A good example is the China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit which have successfully hosted by the Guangxi government for 16 consecutive years.

Chinese local governments have made positive contributions to the anti-epidemic cooperation between China and ASEAN. Fujian, Yunnan and Guangxi have sent medical expert teams and donated anti-epidemic materials to relevant ASEAN countries. Shanghai donated anti-epidemic materials to Laos, Cambodia and Indonesia, and held a video meeting with Laos on combating COVID-19. Chongqing donated anti-epidemic materials to Singapore. Hainan donated anti-epidemic materials to Bali, Indonesia. Shenyang donated anti-epidemic materials to Quezon, a sister city of the Philippines. Shenzhen and Cambodia held a video meeting on epidemic prevention and control. Fujian and Cambodia held China, Fujian-Cambodia Economic and Trade Cooperation Network Promotion Conference. And there are many more examples.

The relationship between China and ASEAN has always been characterized by mutual assistance and sharing weal and woe. 2021 marks the 30th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relationship. Over the past 30 years, both sides have worked hard to promote cooperation and achieved a series of outcomes, which have benefited regional stability and growth and laid a solid foundation for the joint fight against the epidemic.

At present, Chinese enterprises have come back to work, and some ASEAN countries have brought the epidemic under control and begun to open up relevant provinces, cities and industries, which is conducive to trade and investment cooperation between enterprises of both sides.

The epidemic tells us that globally, the farther the distance between the production base and the consumer market and the longer the industrial chain, the greater the risk. COVID-19 has made people more aware of the importance of regional cooperation. The cooperation between China and ASEAN countries in the fight against the epidemic has fully demonstrated the shared destiny.

 

Strengthen bilateral economic and trade cooperation is an important measure to combat the epidemic

On April 8, the forum on Fighting the Epidemic: China-ASEAN Economic and Trade Cooperation was held. Mr. Xu Ningning, Executive Director of CABC, said that strengthening bilateral economic and trade cooperation is an important measure to combat the epidemic.

Minister Commercial Counselor of the Embassy of Cambodia in China, Commercial Counselor of the Embassy of Laos in China, Commercial Counselor of the Embassy of Thailand in China, Executive Vice Chairman of the Chinese Committee of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry delivered speeches and communicated.

The main contents of Mr. Xu Ningning's speech at the opening ceremony are as follows:

At present, the ten ASEAN countries are taking its national conditions into consideration, the implementation of more and more strict epidemic prevention and control measures, including: "closing the country or island to the outside world", the implementation of restraining orders, the Emergency Law, social isolation nationally, and large-scale social restrictions, declaration of "national emergency", suspension of all entry, etc.; At the same time, China has increased economic input in the prevention and control of the epidemic.

In recent years, ASEAN has implemented associated economic policies to deal with the epidemic, including fiscal, tax and financial policies, policies to support small and medium-sized enterprises, labor and manpower policies, and policies to provide subsidies to industries affected by the epidemic, making an endeavor to reduce the economic and social problems brought by the epidemic.

If a series of prevention and control measures taken by ASEAN can be effectively implemented, preventing imports from abroad and proliferation inside the country, it is expected that the ASEAN (with the exception of very few countries) will be the first region in the world to emerge from COVID-19.

China and ASEAN are friendly neighbors and important economic and trade partners of each other, sharing a common future. Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the two sides have cooperated and supported each other to overcome difficulties and are actively collaborating for prevention and control. In the first two months of2020, ASEAN has historically become China's largest trading partner. Both sides have strong economic and trade complementarity. In the joint construction of "One Belt One Road", supported by the policy of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, the economic cycle in the neighboring region will be earlier than the global cycle, which is also the evidence that countries are interdependent to each other.

The impact of the epidemic on the economies of China and ASEAN countries depends not only on the duration and changes of the global epidemic, but also on the effectiveness of the prevention and control measures implemented by China and ASEAN, including the degree of cooperation between both sides.

The trade and industrial chain of some major products between China and ASEAN are closely related to external countries or regions, especially developed countries in America and Europe. There are still many uncertainties of the global situation during the epidemic. In this regard, both sides should focus on tackling weak areas instead of waiting and doing nothing. The situation forces us to do so, and this is beneficial for long-term development.

At present, it is very necessary for both sides to strengthen coordination and cooperation in economic measures dealing with the epidemic respectively, which is of great use. China and ASEAN should carry out targeted, innovative and detailed cooperation in the fight against the epidemic, and set the combat of the epidemic a top priority in the joint construction of the "One Belt One Road" this year. Both side should strengthen the formulation and implementation of economic countermeasures to combat the epidemic, including the government, Chambers of Commerce and enterprises. In light of special circumstances of epidemic prevention and control, both sides should carry out cooperation in finance, transportation, customs, inspection and quarantine.

As the damaging degree of the epidemic varies among the 10 ASEAN countries and different industries, enterprises of the two sides can adjust their business strategies accordingly to implement cooperation, such as cooperation in agricultural development and new product research and development. In the fight against the epidemic through cooperation between China and ASEAN, Chinese companies have a great role to play. Relevant Chinese enterprises that have entered or plan to enter ASEAN will lay a solid foundation for their post-epidemic development in ASEAN if they try their best to help ASEAN countries with urgent need of support during the epidemic.

 

 

Insights of Mr. Xu Ningning about economic cooperation between China and ASEAN in fighting COVID-19

From April to December, 2020, 25 meetings of the China-ASEAN Business Council (CABC) were held both online and offline. Mr. Xu Ningning, Executive Director of CABC, delivered a speech or a keynote speech, analyzing the economic cooperation between China and ASEAN in the fight against the epidemic and putting forward relevant suggestions.

Among the 25 meetings, Economic Ministers and Ambassadors from ASEAN countries attended most of them and delivered speeches or keynote speeches. Commercial Counselors, business leaders and business representatives of the relevant ASEAN Embassies in China exchanged views, discussed and cooperated with their Chinese counterparts, expressed their desire for cooperation of jointly contributing to the development of friendly diplomatic relationships between China and ASEAN countries, as well as enhancing cooperation between the two sides for economic recovery in the prevention and control of COVID-19. Among the 25 meetings, the largest number of participants were more than 4,000, and participants are all representatives from China and ASEAN countries.

CABC is one of the cooperation dialogue mechanisms between the two sides. In 2001, the then Chinese Premier of the State Council attended the opening ceremony of CABC and announced its establishment.

The general standpoints of Mr. Xu Ningning, Executive Chairman of CABC at 25 meetings are as follows:

--In 2020, trade and investment between China and ASEAN grew against the previous trend. China and ASEAN are the largest trading partner and important investment partner of each other, which is determined by the nature of both sides. The outcome of cooperation was hard-won.

--At present, strengthening economic and trade cooperation between two sides is an important countermeasure to combat COVID-19, and focusing on fighting the epidemic and boosting economy is the top priority of bilateral cooperation.

-- COVID-19 has emphasized the significance of building One Belt and One Road jointly. Deepening the cooperation between China and ASEAN in One Belt and One Road is an urgent need not only for fighting against the epidemic but also for economic development.

Xu put forward suggestions on enhancing bilateral economic cooperation, construction of RCEP and sustainable development cooperation, on the current economic and trade cooperation between China and ASEAN countries in terms of local, industrial and enterprise development, and on the investment choice of Chinese enterprises toward specific industries and countries of ASEAN.

Xu suggested that China and ASEAN should further strengthen the implementation of regional cooperation with the aim of sharing destiny and working hand in hand; should promote the interconnected development of bilateral trade in goods, investment cooperation and trade in services. As neighboring countries, China and ASEAN have both common needs and conditions when strengthening industrial cooperation during the prevention and control of the epidemic. The development of digital economy cooperation should be integrated with regional market opening, industrial cooperation and connectivity cooperation. The China Pilot Free Trade Zone is actively promoting cooperation with ASEAN, which demonstrates that China is taking action to expand its opening-up during the fight of epidemic globally. Local governments are playing an active role in China-ASEAN cooperation and should continue on. The business communities of the two sides should jointly push for the signed RCEP to go through the domestic legal approval procedures respectively so as to bring it into force as soon as possible.

 

Achieve sustainable development through cooperation

At the China-ASEAN Summit held in November 2020, leaders of the two sides identified ‘Cooperation on Sustainable Development’ as the theme of cooperation for 2021. On December 31, 2020, the Seminar on Sustainable Development Cooperation between China and ASEAN was held. Mr. Xu Ningning, Chairman of the China Foundation for International Studies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Indonesian Ambassador to China, and Former Director General of the Asian Department of the Ministry of Commerce delivered speeches.

Xu said in his speech that it will be the 30th anniversary in 2021 since the establishment of dialogue relationship between China and ASEAN. Over the years, while China and ASEAN have been implementing sustainable development, ensuring the effective implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, both sides communicated and reflected on their experience, supported and coordinated actions with each other, and finally achieved satisfactory results of cooperation.

Xu said that the theme of bilateral cooperation in 2021 will focus on sustainable development, and industrial cooperation is conducive to sustainable development cooperation. In 2021, the two sides will closely cooperate in the combat of COVID-19, trade and investment expansion, increased connectivity, development of digital economy, enhancement of ecological environment protection, disaster prevention and mitigation, response to climate change, poverty alleviation, improvement of labor skills, construction of infrastructure, agricultural development, upgrading of industrial structure and other areas. The series of cooperation above will strengthen the relationship after 30 years since establishment, countering the potential risk together and striving forward.

 

Measures of seizing the opportunities of the openness of RCEP

On December 29, Roundtable on the Development of RCEP and Guangzhou, China was held. Vice Mayor of Guangzhou and Former Ambassador of China to Japan delivered speeches. Mr. Xu Ningning delivered a keynote speech.

Xu Ningning said in his keynote speech that the main features of RCEP construction are as follows:

First, RCEP has the foundation of FTA. RCEP is integrated by five ‘10+1’ FTA, so RCEP has the foundation of FTA. Over the past decade, the five ‘10+1’ strategic partnerships have promoted a series of cooperation, which is based on connectivity, political, economic and humanity ooperation.

Second, ASEAN is leading RCEP. One of the characteristics of East Asian is that it is initiated and led by ASEAN, which mainly consists of developing countries.

Third, there is a growing need for cooperation among RCEP countries and there is a growing demand for cooperation in exploiting of regional development space, addressing the sluggish growth of the world economy over the years and the current severe downturn, as well as countering international trade protectionism.

Fourth, there is a close trade and investment relationship among RCEP countries,  reflecting the strong industrial complementarity.

Fifth, after eight years of negotiations, CABC has fully prepared for the changes brought about by the opening of the market.

On the urgency of RCEP construction, Mr. Xu Ningning mentioned:

1. Member States should complete and fulfill the domestic legal examination and approval procedures respectively

First, Mr. Li Keqiang, Premier of State Council chaired an executive meeting of the State Council on December 1, and made arrangements to accelerate the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Second, try to make sure the agreement of every member states. RCEP comes into effect requires ratification by at least nine of the 15 members, including at least six ASEAN members and at least three of China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. The key to the agreement of every member states is industry. An important part of the current RCEP construction is to strengthen industrial synergy and cooperation. Through negotiations, the signing of the agreement, mainly a system arrangement, RCEP countries establish a new type of production relations, to achieve liberation of productive forces, promote economic growth, which is an important link between industry cooperation, to promote trade and trade creation, promote two-way investment, to countries in the region of the RCEP complementary advantages of the industrial structure adjustment, promote industrial upgrading, industrial upgrading to stimulate economic growth.

In the joint construction of "One Belt One Road" between China and ASEAN, industrial cooperation is of great importance. It can bring about cooperation between enterprises of the two sides from the shallower to the deeper, which is conducive to the construction of a new industrial chain with complementary advantages of each country, and the enhancement of productivity, risk resistance and international competitiveness of the region.

To further enhance industrial alignment and cooperation, there isn’t enough time for countries to complete their domestic approval procedures. One of the key points in each country's implementation of the domestic ratification process is for fear of the impact on industry after opening up the market. By binding each other's strengths and complementing each other's weaknesses, the current industrial cooperation among countries can reduce the concerns of some industrial enterprises about the possible industrial impact caused by the opening of the market in certain countries.

2. Current actions of the business communities of both sides

First, both sides should jointly promote RCEP to come into effect as early as possible. It is important to give full play to the role of chambers of commerce and trade associations in the construction of RCEP, promote industrial cooperation, and lay a solid economic foundation for RCEP.

Second, both sides should support the fight against COVID-19. The epidemic situation in some ASEAN countries is severe, which restricts the opening of the market. So the business community should actively support some ASEAN countries in fighting the epidemic.

3. Domestic aspects: research-scheme-training

Domestic local governments should combine the implementation of "double cycle" economic development with RCEP open market and regional cooperation. Drawing lessons from the successful experience before China's accession to the WTO in the early years, China should strengthen RCEP study, formulate countermeasures, and vigorously carry out training. By strengthening RCEP research, China can formulate targeted plans and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of cooperation. Enhancing RCEP research should include:

First, study the major concerns of current RCEP member states.

Second, study cooperating direction and measures of among RCEP member states, the multilateral relations and bilateral relations within the RCEP region, such as the political and economic relations and industrial relations between South Korea and ASEAN, Japan and Australia, and the possible changes before and after the implementation of RCEP.

Third, study the relations and the industrial relations between RCEP member states and the outside regions, and the possible new changes before and after the implementation of RCEP.

Fourth, research should not only have innovative basic theoretical results, but also need to have research reports with strong feasibility. International cooperation research on RCEP, and cooperation research between government, industry and academic community should be strengthened.

Timely and thorough research is conducive to the implementation of the open development policy and its actions, and the active cooperation between relevant departments in China. It is also helpful to find the focus of work, improve the efficiency of cooperation in a targeted way, and promote the RCEP construction to achieve the expected goal.Mr. Xu Ningning said at the meeting, let both sides welcome the New Year with new cooperation attitude and full confidence.

 

Coordination and cooperation in logistics should be detailed and solid

On December 28, the China-ASEAN Logistics Industry Cooperation Matchmaking Meeting was held. Leaders of logistics associations from the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia and other countries and the International Freight Forwarders Association attended the meeting and exchanged views with Chinese representatives. The two sides actively expressed their desire to enhance cooperation.

Mr. Xu Ningning pointed out in his speech that logistics industries in both sides are highly complementary and interconnected. In the fight against the epidemic and the prevention of the economic downturn, two sides need to work together to solve the bottleneck in trade and logistics that current epidemic has brought about. China-ASEAN logistics industry and its enterprises play a prominent role in cooperation. During trade growth between China and ASEAN is against the trend, there are many business cooperation opportunities for logistics enterprises. After the RCEP comes into effect, it will open up trade in goods among countries in the region to a high level and greatly promote the growth of trade and investment among countries in the region, which will provide a broader space for the development of China-ASEAN logistics industry.

Mr. Xu Ningning put forward the following suggestions on enhancing bilateral logistics cooperation:

1. Both sides should implement the cooperation consensus reached between China, and member states of ASEAN, and support the development of transport connectivity and logistics system. Hold a meeting of the China-ASEAN Connectivity Cooperation Committee as soon as possible. On the premise of ensuring the prevention and control of the epidemic, both sides will take measures to facilitate the flow of people and goods. While speeding up the construction of the existing economic corridor, both sides will actively build a China-ASEAN multimodal transport alliance.

2. Relevant government departments of both sides should ensure detailed and solid coordination of policies and plans for strengthening logistics cooperation and development. Bilateral Joint Economic and Trade Commission should play a good institutional role in strengthening logistics cooperation, and strengthen logistics cooperation contents in the Five-Year Plan for Bilateral Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and ASEAN countries. Both sides should strengthen cooperation in customs, inspection and quarantine, and standards, strengthen financial and other policy support for logistics cooperation, support the development of logistics industrial parks, and jointly develop demonstration projects for logistics cooperation.

3. Logistics enterprises, freight forwarders and cross-border e-commerce companies of both sides should give full play to the cooperation. The logistics and freight forwarder associations of both sides should strengthen the mechanism construction of industrial cooperation and development and enhance the level of international cooperation.

4. Local governments in China should closely link the implementation of "double-cycle" economic development with the promotion of international and regional logistics cooperation, and strive to improve the level of international logistics cooperation and the degree of integration into international and regional cooperation.

In the past seven years, CABC has actively promoted the cooperation in the logistics industry between China and ASEAN in the joint building of the Maritime Silk Road. In 2014, led by CABC, freight logistics association of Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Singapore and Freight Forwarders Association in other ASEAN countries and Chinese representatives jointly initiated and established the China-ASEAN logistics industry cooperation committee. Delegates signed the memorandum of understanding. The purpose of the cooperation committee is to promote the mutual complementarity and common development of the logistics industry and its enterprises of both sides in the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area.

 

Build a high-quality China-ASEAN Free Trade Area

On November 28, the Forum on the 10th Anniversary of the Completion of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area was held, which was hosted by the Ministry of Commerce of China, the economic and trade departments of the 10 ASEAN governments and the Guangxi government. Mr. Xu Ningning delivered a keynote speech on China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA): Situation, Trends and Suggestions.

Xu said that the current economic cooperation between China and ASEAN is generally judged as follows: two sides are enjoying comprehensive, in-depth, active and close cooperation and the results of cooperation have not come easily. China-ASEAN cooperation needs to be strengthened, and opportunities outweigh challenges.

Xu said that CAFTA has played an important role in today's situation, which has been formed since the establishment of dialogue partnership between two sides nearly 30 years ago. Since its establishment ten years ago, CAFTA has promoted the economic growth of China and the ten ASEAN countries, accelerating the process of regional economic integration, and making contributions to the world economic growth.

Xu made the following suggestions on building high-quality CAFTA:

1. Strengthen the purpose of cooperation, ensure detailed and solid cooperation, improve upgrading efficiency.

The economic and trade cooperation between China and ASEAN has been launched comprehensively. There are many areas for cooperation and a lot to be done. The priority areas of cooperation (industries and projects) should be highly relevant and complementary to both parties, which are easily launched and cooperated, and are effective. They include cooperation to the combat of epidemic, poverty reduction, new routes for international land and sea trade, and the digital economy.

2. Further implement the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement and upgrade the Protocol, enhance regional trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, creating favorable conditions for the development of the RCEP. Expand the scope of benefits of RCEP and reduce resistance when promoting the implementation of RCEP.

3. Give full play to the important role of the China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in promoting regional cooperation. In terms of holding the Expo and the Summit successfully, there are three suggestions: first, reflect the concerns of both sides. Second, strengthen the co-construction of the platform; Third, focus on practical cooperation.

 

The outcomes of cooperation between China and ASEAN have not come easily

On September 24, China (Zhejiang)-ASEAN Economic and Trade Cooperation Matchmaking meeting was held. The meeting was hosted by CABC and Zhejiang Provincial Department of Commerce. Participants from China and ASEAN actively expressed their desire for cooperation and recommended business cooperation opportunities.

Mr. Xu Ningning, Ambassador to China of the Philippines, Ambassador to China of Indonesia, Ambassador to China of Myanmar and Deputy Director-General of Commerce Department of Zhejiang Province delivered speeches. At the opening ceremony, Mr. Xu Ningning said that facing severe situation of the Covid-19 and the severe disruption of global trade, the economic and trade between China and ASEAN have been growing against the trend since this year, which was a hard-won achievement. Four main reasons for this achievement are as follows:

First, mutual needs are the basis for cooperation. The enhancement of cooperation serves the development interests of all countries and regions.

Second, leadership is the key to cooperation. Each party should respect each other, address the big picture, be innovative and pragmatic, and seek agreements while shelving differences.

Third, the win-win status is the vitality of cooperation. Countries have benefited from cooperation through active communication and mutual support.

Fourth, motivating all parties concerned and utilizing various resources is an important reinforcement for cooperation. In particular, enterprises have played a vital role in the economic cooperation.

 

 

Promote the interconnected development of bilateral trade in goods, investment cooperation and trade in services

On September 7, the China-ASEAN Service Industry Cooperation Forum was held in video conference. Mr. Xu Ningning said the development of trade in services should be promoted because it is a new engine for regional economic growth, an important support for trade in goods and investment, and an important measure for cooperation in fighting the epidemic,.

Ambassador of Malaysia to China and President of China Business Federation delivered speeches. China-ASEAN Service Industry Cooperation Forum is one of the series of meetings of China International Trade in Services Fair 2020. China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services is a national-level, international, comprehensive, large-scale exhibition and trading platform.

The main idea of Mr. Xu Ningning's speech of the meeting is as follows:

The speeches and communications of participants have expressed their positive wish to enhance cooperation in the service sector, which indicates that China-ASEAN cooperation in the service sector has broad prospects.

There is a huge space for cooperation in the service sector and great potential for cooperation in many industries. Goods trade and investment cooperation development need to increase services in financial, business, sales, exhibition, transportation, advertising, lawyers and accountants, computer and related fields, research and development, construction and related engineering fields, education, health and social, and travel related fields, etc.. So there is a rising demand for enterprise and professional organizations of the services mentioned above, and the developing opportunities are growing.

China and member states of ASEAN need to further clarify the purpose of service trade cooperation and development, taking service trade cooperation and development as a new engine of regional economic growth, as an important support for bilateral trade in goods, investment and development, and as an important measure of cooperation in fighting the epidemic.

The government departments of the two sides need to ensure detailed and concrete efforts to coordinate policies on strengthening trade in services cooperation and development. Digital economic cooperation between China and ASEAN in 2020 should be built together or based on a digital platform, intelligent logistics service system, product traceability system, as well as the implementation of digital financial services (including cargo insurance, settlement and settlement), Unicom consumption and production, supply and manufacturing, and the data flow between the products and services and product flow, linking the industry manufacture and development of foreign trade.

The business associations in the service fields of both sides need to strengthen the mechanism construction of industrial cooperation and development, improve the level of industrial cooperation, provide information and broaden the channels of cooperation for enterprises. Enterprises of both sides should take advantages of the cooperation consensus between the two governments to find the right entry point for market development and give full play to their creativity.

In recent years, CABC has set up the China-ASEAN Logistics Industry Cooperation Committee and the China-ASEAN Convention and Exhibition Industry Cooperation Committee to facilitate cooperation between service companies of the two sides. CABC will actively implement the relevant consensus reached by the leaders of the two sides and promote the interconnected development of trade in goods, investment cooperation and trade in services.

 

Focusing on combating the epidemic and the economy is the top priority of China-ASEAN cooperation

On September 2, Working with the Philippines: Seeking Business Opportunities for Development was held via video conference. Mr. Xu Ningning said that focusing on combating the epidemic and the economy is the top priority of bilateral cooperation.

The meeting will be co-hosted by CABC and the Philippine Embassy in China. Mr. Xu Ningning and Philippine Ambassador to China delivered speeches, and Deputy Secretary of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry delivered a keynote speech. The Director of the Philippine Investment Agency, the Executive Vice President of the Philippine Base Conversion and Development Authority, and the General Manager of Megaworld International Group of the Philippines delivered speeches to promote business opportunities. Shandong Port Group, Jinxin Group (Wuxi) and the head office of China Construction Bank have expressed their positive wishes to conduct business cooperation with the Philippines.

Leaders of the China Machinery Industry Federation, China Electricity Council, China Leather Association, the China Agricultural Machinery Association, China Plastic Processing Industry Association, China Information Industry Chamber of Commerce, China Building Materials Circulation Association, China Association for Medical Devices and China Stone Association, China Instruments Industry Association and other national association leaders said association will assist the enterprises to enter into the Philippines.

The main contents of Mr. Xu Ningning's speech at the opening ceremony are as follows:

The convening of this meeting reflects that China and the Philippines, as neighbors, have shared destiny and are overcoming difficulties together. The meeting is aimed at enhancing economic and trade cooperation and promoting economic development in the fight against the epidemic. At present, it is effective to strengthen international cooperation of responding to the global economic downturn caused by COVID-19.

Mutual concern and benefit are the driving force of cooperation, which is crucial to its effectiveness and sustainability. Mutual and enhanced understanding is an important guarantee for cooperation, relating to positive aspects of expanding cooperation and the reduction of the negative constraints of cooperation. To be inclusive and draw on strengths to complement weaknesses is an important path for China-ASEAN cooperation, which bears on the joint development of both sides. Innovation-driven and practicability are the real needs of cooperation and bears on the focus of actions. CABC suggests that enterprises of the two sides make good use of the China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit platforms to be held in 2020.

In recent years, under the joint guidance of the leaders of the two countries and joint efforts of relevant parties of both sides, the friendly relationship and economic and trade cooperation between China and the Philippines have achieved positive results, which has laid a good foundation for enhancing economic and trade cooperation in the joint fight against the epidemic.

Cooperation in crisis is the most precious kind of cooperation. During a phone conversation with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on June 11, Chinese leaders emphasized that the epidemic is a crisis, but both sides should have the courage to seize new opportunities in the crisis and embracing the changing situation.

 

Suggestions on enhancing development and the current economic and trade cooperation with ASEAN of Chinese local, industrial and enterprise

On August 5, China (Shaanxi) -ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fair was held. Mr. Xu Ningning, Vice Governor of Shaanxi Province, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Philippines, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Laos and Ambassador of Thailand delivered speeches.

Vice Director of Shaanxi Provincial Department of Commerce presided over the meeting. President of Shaanxi Provincial Council for the Promotion of International Trade, President of Myanmar National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vice President of Vietnam National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other speakers communicated and exchanged views. The meeting was co-hosted by CABC and Shaanxi Provincial Department of Commerce, taking the form of both online and offline. Participants discussed the wishes of cooperation in their speeches and communications.

The main contents of Mr. Xu Ningning's speech at the opening ceremony are as follows:

Since 2020, ASEAN has historically become China's largest trading partner, attracting worldwide attention. 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area. The development of economic and trade cooperation between China and ASEAN fully demonstrate the vitality of growth brought about by multilateralism and free trade policies.

Despite the severity of the current global epidemic and the sharp slowdown in world economic growth, China has the confidence to counter the difficulties emerging from the crisis hand in hand. The following three suggestions are put forward to enhance economic and trade cooperation between China and ASEAN in terms of local, industrial and enterprise development:

First, Chinese local governments will combine the implementation of "six stability" and the "six guarantees" with the expansion of opening up and the development of ASEAN trade and investment cooperation, striving to improve the level of implementation and integration of relevant local authorities into international and regional cooperation.

Second, relevant industries and sectors in China are actively connecting with those encouraged by ASEAN to jointly build new industrial chains that complement each other and foster new areas of growth for cooperation.

Third, enterprises of the two sides will seek development in the fight against the epidemic with a strong sense of innovation, business opportunities and regional cooperation, and with firm confidence and active actions in overcoming the epidemic

The development of digital economy cooperation should be integrated with regional market opening, industrial cooperation and connectivity cooperation

The theme of China-ASEAN cooperation for 2020 is digital economy cooperation. On July 29, the 2020 Cloud Forum for International Cooperation in the Digital Economy was held online. Mr. Xu Ningning said in his speech that enhancing digital economy cooperation will help prevent and control the epidemic, promote new development of bilateral trade and investment, and drive economic recovery and growth. He suggested that the development of digital economy cooperation should be organically combined with regional market opening, industrial cooperation and connectivity.

The conference is co-sponsored by CABC and China-ASEAN Science and Technology Industry Cooperation Committee and organized by Guangxi Qidi Science and Technology City Group. Mr. Xu Ningning, Philippines Ambassador to China, Laos Ambassador to China, Myanmar Ambassador to China, Chairman of TusHoldings Ltd. and Chairman of the Chinese side of China-ASEAN Science and Technology Industry Cooperation Committee delivered speeches successively.

The main contents of Xu Ningning's speech at the opening ceremony are as follows:

The close trade and investment relationship between the two sides has created favorable conditions for the cooperation and development of the digital economy between the two sides, which has generated a lot of demand and business opportunities.

In recent years, the digital economy cooperation between the two sides has become increasingly active and close, and there is a strong demand for business cooperation, laying a solid foundation for the two sides to enhance digital economy cooperation. So it is the right time to develop cooperation relationships.

Relevant parties of all countries should work together to actively implement the cooperation consensus already reached and expand new consensus. Statement following published this year all requires the cooperation of digital economy, including the China-ASEAN COVID-19 Special Foreign Minister Joint Statement, the ASEAN and China, Japan and South Korea (10+3) combating COVID-19 Joint Statement--Leaders at a Special Meeting, the China-ASEAN economic and trade minister about fighting COVID-19 to strengthen trade cooperation Joint Statement,  the ASEAN and China, Japan and South Korea (10+3) economic and trade minister about ease COVID-19 Joint Statement Regarding the Impact of Economic, etc..

It is very important for the two sides to actively implement the cooperation consensus they have reached, which directly relates to epidemic prevention and control and economic recovery. In particular, the two sides should share digital epidemic prevention and combat and promote cooperation.

Both sides should promote cooperation on digital economy by opening up markets regionally and work with relevant countries to ensure the signing of the RCEP within this year. The opening up and development of the Guangxi Pilot Free Trade Zone, the Yunnan Pilot Free Trade Zone, the Hainan Free Trade Port, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and the new land-sea trade corridor should add more cooperation in digital economy field.

Both sides should combine cooperation on digital economy with industrial cooperation and connectivity, adding more elements of the former to the latter. In light of the new situation, both sides should actively implement the China-ASEAN Joint Statement on Connectivity and Cooperation regarding the One Belt One Road Initiative and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC2025). Actively implement the Joint Statement of China-ASEAN Transport Ministers on Responding to the New World Epidemic to Ensure Unhindered Logistics Chain and Help Restore Work and Production, adopted on July 16. Support the development of transport connectivity and logistics system, and maintain the stability of supply chain, industrial chain and value chain.

Both sides should simulate the enthusiasm and creativity of enterprises in developing digital economy cooperation; jointly support enterprises in utilizing digital technology and digital trade, especially small and medium-sized enterprises. Business associations of both sides should play a full role in helping enterprises cooperate in digital economy. In digital economy cooperation, enterprises of the two sides should take advantage of policies and existing bilateral cooperation mechanisms, understand the epidemic prevention and control measures, development concerns, economic stimulus plans and industrial policies of countries in the region, make good use of the preferential policies of the free trade zone, and find the right entry point for market development with the help of the cooperation consensus between governments of both sides. When Chinese enterprises engaged in digital economy are entering into ASEAN to seize business opportunities, they should thoroughly study the feasibility of early projects, choose good partners and avoid detours. China's state-owned enterprise should actively contribute to bilateral digital economy cooperation. Enterprises from China and ASEAN will work together to build a digital Silk Road and its extension.

2020 is the year when the digital economy was facing development. Responding to the new situation, developing new business forms and exploring new patterns is where the vitality of China-ASEAN cooperation lies.

 

Pursue regional cooperation that shares a common destiny and works hand in hand

On July 22, China (Hubei) Pilot Free Trade Zone-ASEAN Investment and Trade Cooperation Exchange Meeting was held. Mr. Xu Ningning said in his speech that economic cooperation between China and ASEAN is forging ahead while both sides are working together to fight the epidemic,

The conference is co-hosted by CABC, China (Hubei) Pilot Free Trade Zone Work Office and Hubei Provincial Department of Commerce. Mr. Xu Ningning, Lao Ambassador to China and Deputy Director-General of Hubei Provincial Department of Commerce delivered speeches successively.

At the meeting, the Management Committee of Wuhan East Lake New Technology Development Zone, the Management Committee of Xiangyang Free Trade Zone and the Management Committee of Yichang High-tech Zone introduced investment projects. Business Counselors from relevant ASEAN Embassies in China, Business Leaders from the Thai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other ASEAN countries actively expressed their willingness to cooperate in their speeches. Entrepreneurs of the two sides communicated and exchanged views.

At the meeting, Hubei Free Trade Area Work Office, CABC, Management Committee of Wuhan East Lake New Technology Development Zone, and Management Committee of Xiangyang Free Trade Area signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Management Committee of Yichang High-tech Zone (Free Trade Area), and the Philippines Silk Road International Chamber of Commerce and Thailand Food Processors Association.

The main contents of Xu Ningning's speech at the opening ceremony are as follows:

Since 2020, facing the serious block of the world trade, investment and personnel exchanges between goods caused by the spread COVID-19, China and ASEAN support and cooperate with each other not only in combating the epidemic, but also in economic areas. This not only sets an example for promoting international economic cooperation during COVID-19, but also plays an important role of preventing the world economic downturn to a certain extent.

2020 was an extraordinary year. It was a year in which countries faced the test of their destiny, prosperity and cooperation. Pursuing regional cooperation with shared destiny is an important and inevitable choice for China and ASEAN to stand the test and rise above it. There are still 10 years away from the realization of the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership Vision 2030. The coming decade will be a crucial decade for mutually beneficial cooperation between China and ASEAN. Let China and ASEAN start a new decade of common progress with friendly, comprehensive, in-depth, innovative and practical cooperation on the basis of trust, mutual understanding, connectivity and assistance.

 

Chinese enterprises’ choices of industries and countries when investing in ASEAN countries

On July 17, "China (Yantai)-ASEAN Import and Export Commodities Seminar" was held, which was co-hosted by CABC and Yantai Municipal Government. Mr. Xu Ningning and Deputy Mayor of Yantai government delivered speeches.

At the meeting, there were four sessions in the food industry, medicine and anti-epidemic supplies, machinery and electronic appliances, e-commerce and logistics, and the entrepreneurs of the two sides had counterpart negotiations. Chairmen of the Thai Food Processors Association, Malaysian Tea Association, Myanmar Fruits and Vegetables Sandar Myo, the ASEAN Food and Beverage Alliance, the Philippine Federation of Chinese Medicines, the Malaysian Federation of Chinese Medicine, the Thai Medical and Healthcare Equipment Manufacturers Industry Club, the Myanmar Industry Association, the Malaysian Hardware, Machinery and Building Materials Association, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Malaysian Freight Forwarders Association, the Cambodia Logistics Association promoted the business opportunities in the country.

The main contents of Xu Ningning's speech at the opening ceremony are as follows:

In the first half of 2020, despite the rampant outbreak of Covid-19 worldwide and the severe impact faced by international trade, trade between China and ASEAN grew by 5.6% year on year, which was against the previous trend. Specifically, China's exports to ASEAN grew by 3.4% year on year, and China's imports from ASEAN grew by 8.5% year on year. China-ASEAN trade accounted for 14.7% of China's total foreign trade, which was an increase of 1.2 % compared to the same period last year. Over the same period, trade between China and the European Union fell 1.8% year on year, while trade between China and the United States fell 6.6%. The trade volume between China and ASEAN was 349.97 billion RMB more than that of the EU, China's second largest trading partner.

From January to May, two-way investment between China and ASEAN grew against the previous trend. China's direct investment in ASEAN increased by 50.7% year on year, and ASEAN's actual investment in China increased by 13% year on year. Among the top 10 non-financial direct investments made by Chinese enterprises in 54 countries along the "One Belt One Road" route, there are seven ASEAN countries, namely Singapore, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Thailand.

The enhanced cooperation between China and ASEAN highlighted its current and long-term, as well as regional and global significance. The integrated economic development of both sides has not only boosted the economic growth of China and the ten ASEAN countries, but also promoted the economic integration process in East Asia and contributed to the global economic growth of the region. In recent years, bilateral cooperation has shown a momentum of comprehensive, in-depth, close and dynamic development. To achieve greater mutual benefit and win-win results requires further efforts of both sides.

Regarding to Chinese enterprises’ choices of industries and countries when investing in ASEAN countries, notable industry include which ASEAN countries encourage investment, match the plan of developing economic and trade cooperation with China-ASEAN countries, relate to the resource development, relate to the industrial chain, relate to the development of digital economy, satisfy the daily consumption, and set up industry products in ASEAN planning to sell to a broader international market. The selection of a particular ASEAN country for investment requires comprehensive consideration of many factors, including the prevention and control situation of COVID-19, industrial structure and policies.

 

Put forward five suggestions on enhancing bilateral cooperation

On June 30, China (Fujian)-ASEAN Economic and Trade Cooperation Promotion Conference was held via video conference. Director of the Department of Commerce of Fujian Province presided over the meeting. Mr. Xu Ningning, Vice Governor of Fujian Province, Deputy Director General of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Commerce of China, Ambassador of Brunei to China and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry of the Philippines delivered speeches successively.

Mr. Xu Ningning put forward five suggestions on enhancing China-ASEAN economic cooperation in his speech at the meeting.

First, implement consensus that countries have already reached on cooperation, including the China-ASEAN COVID-19 Special Foreign Minister Joint Statement, Japan and South Korea (10 + 3) Combat COVID-19 Leaders at a Special Meeting Joint Statement, the China-ASEAN Economic and Trade Minister Strengthen Trade Cooperation when fighting COVID-19 Joint Statement, ASEAN, China, Japan and South Korea (10 + 3) Economic and Trade Minister about easing the economic impact of COVID-19 outbreak Joint Statement  几个联合声明, etc.

Second, in the new normal of prevention and control of the epidemic and economic recovery, further emphasize the cooperation concept of being interdependent, communicate and collaborate in times of difficulty, speed up the opening and broadening of the "green channel", and support the construction of the projects under cooperation.

Third, strengthen industrial cooperation, jointly build a new industrial chain that complements strengths of both sides, and lead growth through innovation such as increasing cooperation in the digital economy.

Fourth, make clear that regional cooperation is an important solution to current difficulties and long-term development. Following the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, both sides should strive to enhance the level of regional cooperation, actively tap the potential of regional cooperation, and ensure the signing of the RCEP by the end of 2020, so as to deepen regional cooperation to meet the severe challenges posed by the complex and volatile international situation.

Fifth, give full play to the enthusiasm and creativity of local governments and enterprises in enhancing bilateral cooperation. The Economic and Trade Cooperation between China (Fujian) and ASEAN Promotion Meeting shows Fujian's active role in cooperation with ASEAN during the joint construction of "One Belt One Road". The vast majority of the 4,000 people watching the conference online are enterprises, which reflects the positive willingness of enterprises for cooperation. At present, China hope that more provinces and cities will hold such meetings and more enterprises will participate in the docking, so as to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of cooperation and achieve win-win development in the process of enhancing mutual understanding of new situations and promoting business opportunities to each other.

 

Deepen cooperation to jointly build the "One Belt One Road" between both sides, which is an urgent need not only to defeat the COVID-19 but also to develop the economy

On June 11, Seminar on China-ASEAN Economic Cooperation during the Global Epidemic was held. Mr. Xu Ningning said in his speech that the two sides need to deepen cooperation to jointly build the "One Belt One Road", which is an urgent need not only to overcome the disease but also to develop the economy.

Mr. Xu Ningning and Mr. Zhang Jiuhuan, Former Director-General of the Asian Department of the Ministry of Foreign and Former Ambassador to Singapore and Then Ambassador to Thailand delivered speeches at the beginning of the meeting.

Deputy Head of Department of Commerce of Guangdong, Deputy Secretary General China-ASEAN EXPO Secretariat, Chairman of China Electronic Commerce Association, Vice President of China National Textiles Import and Export Chamber of Commerce, Vice Chairman and Secretary General of China Transportation Association, Vice President of China Sewing Machinery Association, Secretary General of Chamber of the Oil Industry All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, Vice President of Chinese Enterprises (Singapore) Association, a well-known Chinese studies expert on Vietnam of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Deputy Director of Brunei Embassy, Business Counselor of the ASEAN countries Embassy, leaders of ASEAN Business Association such as Construction Association of Cambodia, delivered speeches and communicated together.

Leaders of China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products, China Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Association, All-China Chamber of Commerce for Jewelry Precious Metals Industry, China Petroleum & Petrochemical Equipment; Industry Association(CPEIA), China Building Materials Federation, China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing and other associations attended the conference.

The main contents of Mr. Xu Ningning's speech at the opening ceremony are as follows:

Supported by the "One Belt One Road" initiative, China and ASEAN countries have actively cooperated with each other interdependently, exchanging experience and practices in fighting the epidemic, supporting each other by donations and anti-epidemic materials, and communicating and coordinating with each other.

Take the Philippines as an example. Up to now, the Chinese government has provided 250,000 servings of Cobas Tapscreen MPX, 80,000 pieces of medical protective clothing, 80,000 medical protective masks, 70,000 medical isolation eye masks, 1.4 million surgical masks and 50 invasive ventilator /respirators to the Philippines free of charge. The Chinese government has also sent a medical team of 12 doctors to the Philippines to fight the epidemic. Roughly over 40,000 local families in the Philippines were provided with basic livelihood by Chinese enterprises during the epidemic.

Thanks to the "One Belt One Road" cooperation, bilateral trade and investment have grown against the trend. Since the beginning of 2020, the ASEAN-China Special Foreign Ministers' Meeting on Covid-19 and the ASEAN-China, Japan and Korea (10+3) Special Leaders' Meeting on Covid-19 have been held successively. The Joint Statement issued by the meetings stressed the joint commitment to keep the trade and investment market open, restore economic growth and connectivity, maintain market stability, prevent the potential risk of economic recession, build a more resilient, sustainable and less vulnerable supply chain, and keep the supply chain unimpeded within and outside the region. On May 29, the Joint Statement of China-ASEAN Economic and Trade Ministers on Strengthening FTA Cooperation in Combating the Covid-19 Epidemic was released. On June 4, the Joint Statement of ASEAN and China, Japan and Korea (10+3) Economic and Trade Ministers on Mitigating the Economic Impact of the Covid-19 Epidemic was released.

Thanks to the "One Belt One Road" initiative, Chinese companies have fulfilled their social responsibilities in ASEAN countries, donating money and materials, and making great efforts to contribute to the fight against the epidemic. With their own practical actions, they have brought vitality of jointly building "One Belt One Road". Recently, cooperation of railway construction projects between China and Laos, cooperation of high-speed rail construction project between China and Indonesia, cooperation of highway construction project between China and Cambodia, cooperation of railway construction projects between China and the east coast of Malaysia, China’s funding to the Philippines two bridge construction projects on Pasig river, etc., are stepping up construction, seizing the construction period, trying to reduce the delayed time.

The spirit of openness and cooperation highlighted by "One Belt One Road" is exactly what is needed to deal with the global crisis. It has proven that during the fight against the epidemic, the achievement and content of "One Belt One Road" are further enriched, such as "Building Common Human Health Community" "Digital Silk Road", "Healthy Silk Road" are revealing, and more and more effective new cooperation pattern arises, laying a more solid foundation of a wider, higher, and deeper cooperation.

 

The China Pilot Free Trade Zone is actively promoting cooperation with ASEAN, which demonstrates that China is taking action to expand its opening-up in the global fight against the epidemic

On May 29, China (Qingdao)-ASEAN Economic and Trade Matchmaking Meeting was held. Mr. Xu Ningning said in his speech that the China (Shandong) Pilot Free Trade Zone is actively promoting cooperation with ASEAN, which demonstrates that China is taking action to expand its opening-up in the global fight against the epidemic.

Mr. Xu Ningning, Former Vice Chairman of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), Deputy Director of Qingdao Municipal People's Congress Standing Committee delivered speeches successively. Business Counselors of ASEAN countries Embassy, the Thailand-China Business Council, the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the China Hong Kong and Macau, Expatriate and Business Association of Cambodia, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, the Fishing Industry of Singapore Business Federation, the Malaysia Automobile Association,the Malaysia Logistics Association, Malaysia Garment Chamber of Commerce, the Indonesian Textile Industries Association, the Thai Shrimp Association, the Malaysian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China, the Singapore Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China, the Philippine Federation of Chinese Entrepreneurs and other leaders of Association of ASEAN Chamber of Commerce, well-known representatives of entrepreneurs communicated with representatives from Qingdao.

The main contents of Xu Ningning's speech at the opening ceremony are as follows:

ASEAN is a pioneer region in the implementation of multilateral cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative. It is the region that has the closest trade and investment relationship with China among the countries along the "One Belt One Road" route, and a cooperation region for Chinese enterprises to explore a broader international market.

The cooperation between China and the ten ASEAN countries has its own inherent nature and corresponding spillover. Cooperation and development between the two sides is conducive to the fundamental interests of the 11 countries , stability and growth in East Asia, the region's contribution to economic growth worldwide and the building of a new type of global international relations.

The meeting was aiming to enhance the pertinence and effectiveness of current economic cooperation. Qingdao and China (Shandong) Pilot Free Trade Zone Qingdao Area attach great importance to the development of cooperation with ASEAN countries, which reflects the positive actions of Qingdao in building the "One Belt One Road" and demonstrates the progress of expanding the opening up of China Pilot Free Trade Zone under the current world economic situation.

 

As neighbors, China and ASEAN have both common needs and conditions to strengthen industrial cooperation in the prevention and control of the epidemic

On May 22, China and ASEAN: Industrial Cooperation as Each Other's largest Trading Partner was held via video conference. The meeting was hosted by the CABC. Mr. Xu Ningning said in his speech that industry is the foundation of economic growth. As neighbors, China and ASEAN have both common needs and conditions to strengthen industrial cooperation in the prevention and control of the epidemic.

Minister and Counselor of Thailand Embassy, Chairman of Singapore Manufacturers Association, Executive Vice President of Khmer-Chinese Association In The Kingdom Of Cambodia, Secretary General of Thai-China Business Council, President of Burma Freight Forwarders Association, Honorary President of Singapore Food Manufacturers' Association and other representatives from ASEAN countries, Chairman of China Sandstone Association, Chairman of China Aquatic Product Processing and Marketing Alliance, Deputy President of China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products, Honorary President of China Leather Association, Vice Director and Secretary General of China Heavy Machinery Industry Association, Executive Vice President of China Association of Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers, President and Chairman of China Plastic Processing Industry Association, Vice Chairman of China Stone Material Association, Executive Vice President of China Power International Cooperation Union, Executive Vice President of China Electric Power Construction Association etc.communicated at the meeting.

The main contents of Mr. Xu Ningning's speech at the opening ceremony are as follows:

The two sides enjoy strong industrial complementarity, broad space and great potential for cooperation. Over the past 30 years since the establishment of dialogue partnership in 1991, the friendly relationship between the two sides has been continuously developing, creating favorable conditions for the joint fight against the epidemic and the enhancement of industrial cooperation.

The epidemic has brought a huge impact on the economies of all countries, and it also brought opportunities for regional economic and industrial restructuring and innovative development, including accelerating the development of the digital economy, optimizing the allocation of production factors, and paying more attention to tapping regional development potential and developing regional markets. China's large market, the most comprehensive industrial system worldwide and the fast speed to resume production amid the global epidemic will help ASEAN countries to support their export, improve industrial facilities and supply of raw materials.

Given that cooperation is an important and powerful weapon in the fight against the epidemic, we should actively inject energy into cooperation to overcome difficulties, and resolutely resist any negative words or actions that hinder cooperation. We should develop new ideas for cooperation, adhere to the principle of "extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits", and actively promote regional economic integration that brings us together in times of difficulties, strengthen communication and synergy between industrial policies adopted by countries in the prevention and control of the epidemic, jointly promote cooperation in industries that are severely affected by the epidemic, speed up cooperation in industries that are relatively less affected by the epidemic, and expand cooperation in industries that requires more demand from the epidemic.

 

COVID-19 has made it more important to build One Belt One Road

On May 20, Seminar on Anti-epidemic Cooperation between China and ASEAN was held. Mr. Xu Ningning said in the speech that since 2020, China and ASEAN cooperated during prevention of COVID-19, the epidemic has made it more important to build One Belt One Road.

Former Chinese ambassadors to relevant ASEAN countries attended the meeting. Former Director General of The Department of Asian Affairs of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Former Ambassador to Cambodia, Singapore and Thailand Mr. Fu Xuezhang; Former Director of The Department of Treaty and Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Former Ambassador to Indonesia Mr. Chen Shiqiu;Former Director General of The Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs, Former Ambassador to Cambodia, Korea, Thailand, Fukui Ning; Former Deputy Director General of Foreign Affairs Office in the State Council, Former ambassador to the Philippines, Mr. Huang Guifang; Former Ambassador to Malaysia Xi Chai; etc. expressed in their speeches that, facing complex and changeable international situation and serious epidemic, comprehensively deepen strategic partnership around China and ASEAN is of great practical significance and long-term significance.

At the meeting, leaders of Chinese Enterprises and Chamber of Commerce of ASEAN attended the meeting, delivering speeches to share measures of fighting COVID-19, including Bank of China Branch in Jakarta Governor, Chairman of Indonesia Chamber of Commerce in China, Mr. Zhang Chaoyang; Governor of the Bank of China, Brunei, Brunei Chinese enterprises association, Mr. Wang Xiaolin; Vice Chairman of China Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, Mr. Xiao Guoping; General Manager of the Asia-Pacific Regional Headquarters, in Malaysia's Chinese Chamber of Commerce secretary Mr. Liu Shaoquan, General Manager of Sanyi Thai company, Thai Chinese chamber of commerce Vice President and Secretary General, Mr. Da Rui.

At the meeting, China well-known scholars analyzed ASEAN situation, putting forward the suggestion on enhancing cooperation. Scholars include Deputy Director of China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations in southeast Asia and Oceania, Mr. Zhang XuegangResearcher of National Institute of International Strategy-Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Mr. Shen MinghuiDeputy Researcher of National Institute of International Strategy-Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Mr. Zhou FangzhiDean of School of International Relations, Jinan University, Mr. Zhang ZhenjiangDean of School of Asian and African Studies, Beijing Foreign Studies University(BFSU), Mrs. Su Yingying, Associate Professor of School of Asian and African Studies, BFSU, Mr. Song Qingrun, Director of Asian Studies, China Foreign Affairs University, Mr. Guo Yanjun.

The main contents of Mr. Xu Ningning's speech at the opening ceremony are as follows:

At present, thanks to the efforts of ASEAN countries to fight against COVID-19, the epidemic is getting better. In the past few months, China and ASEAN have worked actively to combat the epidemic, becoming more aware of the importance of being as close as lips and teeth, helping each other interdependently and sharing a common future, and have forged a close and good-neighborly relationship. 

Cooperation is an inevitable choice in fighting the epidemic. The epidemic has further enhanced the position of regional cooperation in countries' foreign relations, and the construction of the "One Belt One Road" and ASEAN Community has become more and more important, and it is more likely that the RCEP would reach an agreement by the end of 2020.

Closer economic cooperation relates to people’s livelihood and the prevention of economic downturn. Faced with the economic recession caused by COVID-19 and the possibility of fighting against the epidemic for a longer period of time, ASEAN countries are beginning to to recover economic life conditionally and gradually lift the restrictions. At the same time, while strengthening the prevention and control of the epidemic, China and ASEAN countries should actively resume trade conditionally, open up green channels, repair the industrial chain in the region damaged by the epidemic, and ensure the supply of the industrial chain. Convenient conditions should be provided for the key projects of cooperation and planned implementation of the two sides, so as to trim the sails and open up new ideas and push forward with the guarantee of the bottom line of epidemic prevention. In view of the increasing number of poor people in some ASEAN countries due to the epidemic, he suggested that bilateral poverty alleviation cooperation should be stepped up.

In the "first half" and "second half" of the cooperation in fighting the epidemic, Chinese Embassies in ASEAN countries enrolled all the way with a high sense of responsibility. Chinese enterprises in ASEAN countries have played a very active role in the fight against the epidemic, and Chinese enterprises' Chambers of Commerce have done a great job in organizing donations. Particularly commendable are the builders of the China-Laos Railway and the Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway (China and Indonesia), who have strictly implemented anti-epidemic measures and work hard on the construction sites suffering the heat. These projects will become monuments of the good-neighborly friendship between the two countries.

 

China and ASEAN are each other's largest trading partner, which is determined by its intrinsic nature

On May 11, China (Deyang)-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Matchmaking Meeting was held. Mr. Xu Ningning said in his speech that China and ASEAN are each other's largest trading partner, which is determined by their intrinsic nature.

The meeting was co-hosted by CABC, the CPC Deyang Municipal Committee, and the Deyang Municipal People's Government. Commercial Counselor of relevant ASEAN Embassies in China and Chairmen of the Philippine Silk Road International Chamber of Commerce, the Singapore Food Manufacturers Association, Malaysia The Yangtze River Huaqiang of the Association of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, the Myanmar Wood Industry Association, the China Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Association, the China Machinery Industry Federation, the China Textile Import and Export Chamber of Commerce, China Electricity Council, China Leather Association, China Sandstone Association, China Building Materials Circulation Association and Leaders of relevant national trade associations in China communicated with representatives of Deyang.

The main contents of Mr. Xu Ningning's speech at the opening ceremony are as follows:

It is not easy for both China and ASEAN to achieve an increase in exports and imports as the epidemic severely restricts trade.

The close trade relationship of both sides is determined by its inherent nature.

First, as neighbors, China and ASEAN are both committed to economic growth. Industries of both sides are highly complementary to each other, and there is broad space and great potential for cooperation.

Second, there are politic and commercial connections between both sides. Both sides established the dialogue partnership in 1991, the strategic partnership in 2003, and the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area in 2010. In the past seven years, the two sides have been building "One Belt One Road", which brings out the best in each other's integrated development and brings about close trade relationship.

Third, the development of production and living standards in China and ASEAN has led to the direct increase of demand for commodities mutually, the expansion of mutual investment by enterprises of both sides, the change of industrial division of labor between China and ASEAN countries by multinational corporations in developed countries in recent years, and the trade barriers set by the United States against China, all of which have brought about the growth of trade between China and ASEAN. China is the largest source of investment for many countries in ASEAN, and Chinese investment accounts for an increasing share of foreign investment in ASEAN.

 

Local governments are playing an active role in the cooperation between China and ASEAN

On April 30, China (Qingyun)-ASEAN Economic and Trade Cooperation Matchmaking Meeting was held. Mr. Xu Ningning said in his speech that local governments are playing a positive role in the cooperation between China and ASEAN, including the current joint fight against COVID-19.

Commercial Counselor of Embassy of Philippines in China; Chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Myanmar, Chairman of the Malaysian Chamber of Commerce and industry in China, General Manager from Thailand-China Rayong Industrial Park(翻译)communicated at the meeting.

At the opening ceremony of the meeting, Mr. Xu Ningning and Mr. Lv Kejian, Former Director of the Asian Department of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, delivered speeches successively. The main contents of Mr. Xu Ningning's speech are as follows:

In the past decade, especially since the construction of "One Belt One Road", the cooperation between Chinese local governments and ASEAN has been active, which has not only promoted local opening-up and development, but also laid a solid foundation for the friendship between China and ASEAN. A good example is the China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit which have successfully hosted by the Guangxi government for 16 consecutive years.

Chinese local governments have made positive contributions to the anti-epidemic cooperation between China and ASEAN. Fujian, Yunnan and Guangxi have sent medical expert teams and donated anti-epidemic materials to relevant ASEAN countries. Shanghai donated anti-epidemic materials to Laos, Cambodia and Indonesia, and held a video meeting with Laos on combating COVID-19. Chongqing donated anti-epidemic materials to Singapore. Hainan donated anti-epidemic materials to Bali, Indonesia. Shenyang donated anti-epidemic materials to Quezon, a sister city of the Philippines. Shenzhen and Cambodia held a video meeting on epidemic prevention and control. Fujian and Cambodia held China, Fujian-Cambodia Economic and Trade Cooperation Network Promotion Conference. And there are many more examples.

The relationship between China and ASEAN has always been characterized by mutual assistance and sharing weal and woe. 2021 marks the 30th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relationship. Over the past 30 years, both sides have worked hard to promote cooperation and achieved a series of outcomes, which have benefited regional stability and growth and laid a solid foundation for the joint fight against the epidemic.

At present, Chinese enterprises have come back to work, and some ASEAN countries have brought the epidemic under control and begun to open up relevant provinces, cities and industries, which is conducive to trade and investment cooperation between enterprises of both sides.

The epidemic tells us that globally, the farther the distance between the production base and the consumer market and the longer the industrial chain, the greater the risk. COVID-19 has made people more aware of the importance of regional cooperation. The cooperation between China and ASEAN countries in the fight against the epidemic has fully demonstrated the shared destiny.

 

Strengthen bilateral economic and trade cooperation is an important measure to combat the epidemic

On April 8, the forum on Fighting the Epidemic: China-ASEAN Economic and Trade Cooperation was held. Mr. Xu Ningning, Executive Director of CABC, said that strengthening bilateral economic and trade cooperation is an important measure to combat the epidemic.

Minister Commercial Counselor of the Embassy of Cambodia in China, Commercial Counselor of the Embassy of Laos in China, Commercial Counselor of the Embassy of Thailand in China, Executive Vice Chairman of the Chinese Committee of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry delivered speeches and communicated.

The main contents of Mr. Xu Ningning's speech at the opening ceremony are as follows:

At present, the ten ASEAN countries are taking its national conditions into consideration, the implementation of more and more strict epidemic prevention and control measures, including: "closing the country or island to the outside world", the implementation of restraining orders, the Emergency Law, social isolation nationally, and large-scale social restrictions, declaration of "national emergency", suspension of all entry, etc.; At the same time, China has increased economic input in the prevention and control of the epidemic.

In recent years, ASEAN has implemented associated economic policies to deal with the epidemic, including fiscal, tax and financial policies, policies to support small and medium-sized enterprises, labor and manpower policies, and policies to provide subsidies to industries affected by the epidemic, making an endeavor to reduce the economic and social problems brought by the epidemic.

If a series of prevention and control measures taken by ASEAN can be effectively implemented, preventing imports from abroad and proliferation inside the country, it is expected that the ASEAN (with the exception of very few countries) will be the first region in the world to emerge from COVID-19.

China and ASEAN are friendly neighbors and important economic and trade partners of each other, sharing a common future. Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the two sides have cooperated and supported each other to overcome difficulties and are actively collaborating for prevention and control. In the first two months of2020, ASEAN has historically become China's largest trading partner. Both sides have strong economic and trade complementarity. In the joint construction of "One Belt One Road", supported by the policy of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, the economic cycle in the neighboring region will be earlier than the global cycle, which is also the evidence that countries are interdependent to each other.

The impact of the epidemic on the economies of China and ASEAN countries depends not only on the duration and changes of the global epidemic, but also on the effectiveness of the prevention and control measures implemented by China and ASEAN, including the degree of cooperation between both sides.

The trade and industrial chain of some major products between China and ASEAN are closely related to external countries or regions, especially developed countries in America and Europe. There are still many uncertainties of the global situation during the epidemic. In this regard, both sides should focus on tackling weak areas instead of waiting and doing nothing. The situation forces us to do so, and this is beneficial for long-term development.

At present, it is very necessary for both sides to strengthen coordination and cooperation in economic measures dealing with the epidemic respectively, which is of great use. China and ASEAN should carry out targeted, innovative and detailed cooperation in the fight against the epidemic, and set the combat of the epidemic a top priority in the joint construction of the "One Belt One Road" this year. Both side should strengthen the formulation and implementation of economic countermeasures to combat the epidemic, including the government, Chambers of Commerce and enterprises. In light of special circumstances of epidemic prevention and control, both sides should carry out cooperation in finance, transportation, customs, inspection and quarantine.

As the damaging degree of the epidemic varies among the 10 ASEAN countries and different industries, enterprises of the two sides can adjust their business strategies accordingly to implement cooperation, such as cooperation in agricultural development and new product research and development. In the fight against the epidemic through cooperation between China and ASEAN, Chinese companies have a great role to play. Relevant Chinese enterprises that have entered or plan to enter ASEAN will lay a solid foundation for their post-epidemic development in ASEAN if they try their best to help ASEAN countries with urgent need of support during the epidemic.



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