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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        19 January 2011

Asean-China outlook

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Asean and Chinese business leaders have expressed confidence in trade and investment prospects between the two sides and have set a combined target of 15 trillion baht by 2015.

The boost in cooperation is linked to the Asean-China free-trade agreement (ACFTA) and the development of transport links.

Trade between Asean and China surpassed 6 trillion baht for the first time in 2010, the year ACFTA took effect, representing an increase of 38 percent from the year earlier, said Ning-Ning Su, deputy secretary-general of the Asean-China Commercial meeting.

China is the fourth largest investor in Asean with a total expenditure of 345 billion baht, which is larger than the amount Asean investors spent on the Chinese mainland. The Chinese government aims to increase trade and investment with Asean to 15 trillion baht by 2015.

"We expect this target will certainly be achieved as we can expand the value by about 20 percent to 25 percent a year," Mr Ning-Ning said.

The two economies bring together 1.9 billion people with a combined gross national product of 180 trillion baht.

Rongxin Cao, president of Yunnan Logistics, said trade and tourism would benefit once a high-speed train linking China and Thailand was completed.

Varaporn Choeysa-ard, executive director of Thailand's Board of Investment, said Chinese investments in Thailand totaled 95 billion baht with 120 projects during 2008 to the first half of last year spread over heavy and light industries.

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