Asean seen replacing Japan as China's 3rd largest trade partner
The 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is likely to replace Japan as China's third largest trade partner in the future, Vietnam News Agency quoted a Chinese trade official as saying.
Vice Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng made the remarks at a preparatory meeting of the 6th China-Asean Expo, to be run from October 20 to 24 in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
Gao was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying that China-Asean relations have developed further, featured by frequent high-level visits and closer economic and trade relations. "Considering the current development momentum, Asean is likely to become China's third largest trade partner in the future."
Greater efforts would be put into making the Asean-China free trade area (ACFTA) a reality by 2010, Gao told the preparatory meeting.
Trade between Asean and China rose by 14 percent to $231.12 billion last year despite the global financial crisis, which made Asean China's fourth largest trade partner after the European Union, the United States and Japan.
By 2010, when the ACFTA is established, bilateral trade volume will amount to $1.2 trillion, transforming the area into the world's third largest FTA by trade volume after those in North America and Europe.
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