Sino-ASEAN trade grows 36 times in 20 years

February 20, 2012   Xinhua Edited by He Shan

Trade volume between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2010 was 36 times what it was in 1991, the year in which formal relations between the two sides were established, according to new statistics.

The volume is expected to reach $500 billion in 2015, according to figures revealed Friday at the China-ASEAN Beijing Economic Forum, an event taking place in China's capital from December 16 to 18 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the China-ASEAN relations.

Ma Mingqiang, secretary-general of ASEAN-China Center, said China-ASEAN trade volume totaled $267 billion in the first three quarters of 2011 and is expected to hit the annual target of $350 billion this year.

He said the two parties have become closely linked in the past two decades, as China is now ASEAN's largest trade partner while ASEAN ranks the third among China's trade partners.

With the comprehensive implementation of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement in 2010, China has made 90 percent of commodities traded between China and ASEAN countries free of tariffs.

China and ASEAN have enjoyed rapid social and economic growth since they established bilateral cooperation, said Surin Pitsuwan, ASEAN secretary-general.

ASEAN can provide human resources, natural resources and raw materials for China's industrial development, and it in turn wants to win more investment from China, said Pitsuwan.

He said the cooperation not only is a win-win solution for both sides, but will also make a positive contribution to the world.

Guo Jinlong, mayor of Beijing, said the city saw a 21.5 percent year-on-year increase in trade volume with ASEAN in 2010, and will further strengthen its cooperation with the countries.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.