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|16 August 2009
China, Asean poised to expand investment, trade
China signed an investment agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) at a meeting in Bangkok Saturday.
China's Commerce Minister Chen Deming and the economic ministers from 10 Asean member states Saturday morning signed the Asean-China Investment Agreement during the 41st Asean Economic Ministers Meeting (AEM) and related meetings in Bangkok.
China’s state news agency Xinhua reported that the signing of the investment agreement, together with already-signed China-Asean agreements of the trade in goods and services, completed the negotiation process of China-Asean Free Trade Area (FTA), scheduled to start on January 1, 2010.
"The China-Asean FTA will be an advanced FTA that covers an extensive area of 13,000,000 square kilometers with a population of 1.9 billion ", Chen told Xinhua after the signing ceremony.
China and Asean first launched their cooperation dialogue in 1991 and signed the China-Asean Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation in 2002.
The agreement would expand trade and investment between Asean and China as well as enhance economic ties with China, Thailand's Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai said in a press statement.
Both sides agreed to support foreign direct investment of their investors, as well as promote and protect investments of Parties to the Agreement by giving non-discriminatory and fair treatment to investors, compensating investors in case of expropriation and providing for investors-State dispute settlement, Porntiva said.
Investment facilitation and protection will result in increase in production, exports, and trade volume of both sides, Porntiva said.
According to Porntiva, China is the fourth largest export market of Asean. In 2009 (January-September) Asean’s exports to China was worth about $85.6 billion. In turn, China is the third largest source of imports for the trading bloc. Imports from China in the same period were valued at nearly $107.0 billion.
In terms of investment, China is the 8th largest in Asean, with accumulated investments as of 2008 at $6.1 billion, while Asean’s investments in China totaled $5.6 billion.
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