Government and business representatives have gathered in southern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, for the 16th China-ASEAN Expo. The CAEXPO encourages trade and investment in the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area. CGTN's Omar Khan has the story.
At the opening of this year's Expo, government officials from China and the 10-nation ASEAN community encouraged both sides to expand cooperation, across various fields. This year marks the beginning of the implementation of the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership - Vision 2030.
Over the past 15 plus years, the Expo has witnessed substantial growth both in terms of investment numbers and those attending the annual event.
OMAR KHAN NANNING, GUANGXI ZHUANG AUTONOMOUS REGION "In 2004 when the first Expo was held, the two sides fulfilled their goal of reaching 100 billion US dollars' worth of trade, 1 year ahead of schedule. By the end of last year however, that figure was just under 600 billion US dollars, perhaps proving the importance of this annual event."
This year's country of honor is Indonesia. Organizers have launched national promotion and trade matchmaking events, and cultural exchange activities, for companies from and hoping to engage with the southeast Asian country.
But the CAEXPO is going further beyond its borders this year, inviting a special partner to realize opportunities in Chinese and Southeast Asian economies.
GAO FENG, SPOKESMAN CHINESE MINISTRY OF COMMERCE "For the first time, the CAEXPO will invite Poland, a European country, as a special partner. Poland will showcase its national image and advantages, products, and will hold a national promotion conference. The China-Poland Entrepreneur Roundtable Meeting will be held for the first time."
Speaking to journalists from 173 media organizations representing 22 countries and regions, Gao Feng outlined the expansion the expo has seen over the years. This year 2,848 companies will attend the expo, a 2.4 percent increase from last year, while several Fortune 500 countries will also be on hand.
Concurrent with the Expo will be the Business & Investment Summit, a platform that has grown over the years of past success between China and ASEAN countries.
PROFESSOR LIU CHUNSHENG CENTRAL UNIVERSITY OF FINANCE & ECONOMICS "Relations between China and ASEAN have a long history. Geographically, the two are neighbors, so economic, cultural and social exchanges have grown strong. And since the establishment of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area in 2010, total trade and investment has witnessed tremendous change."
And with the bloc becoming China's second-largest trading partner as of the first half of 2019, the business delegations and private companies here will surely be looking to cash in on an ever-growing trade network. Omar Khan, CGTN, Nanning.