ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Asean-China deal use not satisfactory
Acknowledging the progress made under the ACFTA, Malaysia's International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed said there was a need to intensify programmes to increase awareness of business communities in Asean and China on the benefits to be derived from the agreement.
Mustapa said this in a statement to mark the Ninth Asean Economic Ministers-Ministers of Commerce-China Meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam, yesterday.
Mustapa is heading the Malaysian delegation to the one-day meeting which is focused on the progress of the ACFTA and the coming into force of the Asean-China Investment Agreement on Jan 1, 2010.
During deliberations at the meeting, the ministers noted that 2010 was a significant year in Asean-China relations following full implementation of the ACFTA.
Effective Jan 1, 2010, Asean-Six (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand) and China removed duties on 90 per cent of the products.
After five years the ACFTA has been in force, China has emerged as Asean's leading trade partner, with total trade amounting to US$178.2 billion last year and US$191.5 billion in 2008.
For Malaysia, exports under the ACFTA have been increasing steadily from RM5.6 billion in 2007 to RM6.3 billion in 2008 to RM23.4 billion in 2009.
The statement said the Asean economic ministers agreed that greater awareness of the potential of the ACFTA would provide opportunities for companies in Asean member states to penetrate the Chinese market.
The ministers also agreed to assist small and medium enterprises in Asean countries to penetrate the Chinese market and welcomed Chinese companies to form strategic partnership with their Asean counterparts.
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