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China-ASEAN Free Trade Area Quarterly Report (Q2-5)

Post Time:2014-08-25 11:15:00

Ⅴ. Suggestions for Development of China-ASEAN Economic and Trade Cooperation

It is an integral part of the bilateral strategic partnership to carry out comprehensive and in-depth economic and trade cooperation, which may even serve as an engine.

5.1 Focus on the development of the China-ASEAN FTA

We should continue to strengthen our confidence in cooperation, thoroughly implement the FTA agreements including the Agreement on Trade in Goods, the Agreement on Trade in Service and the Agreement on Investment, and further expand and open the markets for trade in goods, trade in service and investment. As for some new problems arising in cooperation, the two sides must take measures in joint efforts so that the bilateral economic and trade relations can enjoy sustained development.

5.2 Practically promote bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

We shall actively implement the consensuses already reached and continuously expand new ones. In particular, we must strengthen the practicality of cooperation, turning the consensuses into concrete actions. In recent years, China and ASEAN have reached cooperation consensuses in agriculture, transportation, science and technology and IT industries, and signed a series of cooperation framework agreements, action plans and memorandum of understanding which should be actively executed. The two sides must also explore into the areas for which cooperation documents are yet to be signed so as to comprehensively deepen their cooperation. The bilateral economic and trade cooperation plans signed between China and ASEAN should be thoroughly implemented; for those countries which have not signed the plans with China, the two sides must facilitate the reaching of consensuses. Moreover, China and ASEAN should practically implement the 2nd Five-year Action Plan for Implementing the China-ASEAN Joint Declaration on the Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity (2011-2015).

Both sides should also give full play to the bilateral cooperation mechanism, such as the China-Singapore and China-Malaysia Bilateral Economic and Trade Cooperation Joint Committee, the ministerial cooperation mechanism between China and ASEAN in energy and finance industries, the GMS sub-regional economic cooperation mechanism, and economic cooperation mechanisms established between some ASEAN countries and Chinese provinces. All these mechanisms must be further utilized in the FTA development. The two sides must also facilitate the establishment of cooperation mechanisms in some important areas, and bring into full play the role of China and ASEAN as the center.

5.3 Fully mobilize the social forces to promote bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

It is necessary to mobilize and urge broad social forces to play a positive role in China-ASEAN cooperation to create a dynamic prospect featuring effective participation of these social forces into the cooperation. There are two reasons. First, social forces are highly flexible compared with the government and can be complementary to governmental actions; second, more extensive and innovative cooperation can be formed through the mobilization of social forces so as to pool the wisdom and efforts of all sides. It should be kept in mind that innovation originates from practice and broader societies.

5.4 Base the bilateral relations on the people so as to benefit the people.

The development of the China-ASEAN economic relations cannot go without the mutual understanding between the two peoples or without the public opinion as a social basis. Positive interactions among the bilateral political, economic and social relations may facilitate the sustained development of a good-neighborly strategic partnership. In particular, the social cooperation between China and ASEAN is directly related to whether or not the results of their economic and political cooperation would be “discounted”. But it should be recognized that, in recent years, the two sides have conducted extensive cooperation in the fields of culture, education, media and youth, and have achieved certain results. However, it must also be noted that compared with economic cooperation, the bilateral cultural cooperation remains insufficient.

A basic focus and foothold of the friendly relations between China and ASEAN states is to benefit the people. The friendship between the peoples is a key indicator for measuring the efforts made by China to build bilateral friendly relations. Therefore, in order to base the bilateral good-neighborly relations on the mass and improve the performance on the indicator, the two sides must put cultural cooperation into practice. To benefit the people through bilateral cooperation provides a greatest guarantee for consolidating and expanding the cooperation results.

Conclusion

In the second quarter of 2014, under the framework of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, bilateral trade volume witnessed an increase of 9.74%. Out of which, China’s export to and import from ASEAN countries saw an increase of 18.53% and a decline of 0.34% respectively than the previous quarter. Trade structure remains basically the same as the first quarter. Electrical and mechanical products, mineral products and rubber remain the top three largest category of commodities imported by China from ASEAN countries. Electrical and mechanical products, textile and base metal are the top three largest category of commodities exported from China to ASEAN countries. In terms of economic situation in ASEAN countries, Cambodia, Myanmar and Malaysia showed a robust development trend in Q2, GDP of Vietnam and Thailand in Q2 was higher than Q1.

With regard to regional political security, China-Vietnam and China-Philippines political mutual trust has declined due to South China Sea disputes. Conflicts would get worse if not handled properly, and this in return will influence regional cooperation. In the second half of 2014, electoral reform in Thailand, governing of new Indonesian president Joko Widodo and constitutional amendment in Myanmar are political issues of common concerned. As to regional economy, ASEAN countries need to cooperate in promoting the establishment of ASEAN Community and take joints efforts to solve the difficulties. The worldwide economic upturn is conducive to ASEAN economic development, ASEAN countries should focus on promoting structural reform and control inflation, expand export, improve investment environment and attract foreign investment. In the second half of 2014, China and ASEAN countries should make new breakthrough in the building of an upgraded version of China-ASEAN FTA.

The East Asia Summit to be held in Myanmar this November is a conference highly focused by countries in and out of this region. We sincerely hope this conference will promote all the participating countries to strengthen cooperation and achieve coordinated development and bring regional stability and economic integration into a new stage, which is also in the interests of China and ASEAN development.


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