Senior Officials’ Meeting for the 16th China-ASEAN Expo was held at Howard Johnson CAEXPO Plaza Nanning on September 22. The meeting summed up the current China-ASEAN Expo, and proposed ideas, suggestions and tasks for the next China-ASEAN Expo, and chose Laos as the Country of Honor of the 17th China-ASEAN Expo.
The meeting was attended by Wu Zhiwei, representative of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Commerce of China; Wang Lei, Secretary-General of the China-ASEAN Expo Secretariat; Deputy Secretary-General and liaison officers for the China-ASEAN Expo of ASEAN countries, and representatives of the ASEAN Secretariat and others. The meeting was co-chaired by Wu Zhiwei, representative of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Commerce of China, and Mrs. Santi Setiastuti, Deputy Director of the Directorate General of National Export Development of the Ministry of Trade of Indonesia, which is the Country of Honor of the 16th China-ASEAN Expo.
Wang Lei briefed the meeting on the overall situation of the 16th China-ASEAN Expo. A total of eight Chinese and foreign leaders and former key members of government attended this China-ASEAN Expo. Leaders from participating countries attended the opening ceremony and delivered speeches, speaking highly of the achievements in China-ASEAN friendship and cooperation and its important role. 240 ministerial guests attended this event, including 134 from ASEAN and outside region. Han Zheng, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Vice Premier of the State Council of China, held six bilateral meetings with the state leaders from ASEAN and other countries respectively. During the expo, a host of events were held under the theme of the implementation of China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership Vision 2030; Indonesia, the Country of Honor, hosted a cornucopia of events.
Wang Lei introduced that China-ASEAN Expo promoted the development of China-ASEAN free trade area and realized new results in the economic and trade cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative: the total exhibition area of this China-ASEAN Expo was 134,000 square meters, an increase of 10,000 square meters compared to the previous session. The number of booths totaled 7,000. Among those, there were 1774 booths for ASEAN and other foreign countries (1,548 booths for ASEAN countries). Booths for ASEAN countries account for 28.6% at the main venue. 7 ASEAN countries including Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam reserved the whole pavilion. Other foreign countries reserved 226 booths. There were 2,848 exhibitors, up by 2.4% over the previous year. There were 122 groups of buyers, up by 8.9% over the previous session. Organized professional visitors totaled more than 12,000, up by 9% over the previous session. 90 trade and investment promotion events were held.
At this year’s China-ASEAN Expo, the exhibition content and the quality of exhibits were enhanced. ASEAN exhibitors introduce product certification and traceability system for the first time. Events such as Joint Meeting with CAEXPO Supporting Chambers of Commerce, and the first China-ASEAN Private Entrepreneurs Summit were held, and new achievements were made in major projects and the construction of important mechanisms. China (Guangxi) Pilot Zone Investment Promotion Conference and the Pilot Zone Tour Event were held to provide support for ASEAN enterprises to enter the Chinese market through the pilot zone. Poland, an European country, served as the special partner to further foster international cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative. The first blue paper on China-ASEAN Expo, the Development Report on ASEAN Industrial Parks in the Context of China-ASEAN Cooperation in International Production Capacity, was published to extend the exhibition value chain. Fruitful results were made in cooperation in such areas as connectivity, agriculture, digital economy, education, media, finance, science and technology, statistics, and medicine. On-site services were upgraded to create a better environment for exhibitions and negotiations. 1,298 journalists representing 177 media units from 22 countries and regions participated in the interviews and coverage, raising the visibility of the exhibitions. A total of 33 high-level forums were held under the framework of China-ASEAN Expo, 26 of which were held during the expo period. Through multi-level exchange activities in different fields, more cooperation mechanisms were established to enrich the “Nanning Channel” and promote the implementation of the Vision 2030 in every sphere.
Wang Lei said that China stands ready to work with the parties concerned to promote the upgrade of China-ASEAN Expo and better serve China-ASEAN cooperation. First, to improve the mechanism for holding high-level meetings and promote the participation of leaders of China and ASEAN countries in the meetings. Second, to make joint preparations for the 17th China-ASEAN Expo and the economic and trade activities during the expo. Third, to work to promote the routine investment. Fourth, to work together to hold the China-ASEAN Expo professional exhibitions, and the tour of China-ASEAN Expo exhibitions in ASEAN countries in turn. Next year, we plan to hold tour exhibitions in Laos, Myanmar and Thailand in turn to bring quality Chinese products geared to the ASEAN market, and assist Chinese companies to seek investment opportunities.
Wu Zhiwei, representative of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Commerce of China, pointed out that next year marks the 10th anniversary of the completion of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area. China and ASEAN have deeper cooperation in economic and trade areas and the bilateral relationship reaches a higher level. China stands ready to work with ASEAN in the preparations for the 17th China-ASEAN Expo and improve the mechanism for China and ASEAN to jointly run the exhibition. Centering on the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, China and ASEAN give preeminence to the hot cooperation areas, expand cooperation in breadth and depth, improve effectiveness, and expand the influence, in an effort to better contribute to the upgraded version of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area and a closer community of a shared future for China and ASEAN.
The officials of the co-organizing departments present at the meeting praised the event. They thought that there were significant improvements at the 16th China-ASEAN Expo in the aspects of expanding economic and trade cooperation, boosting the construction of major projects and important mechanisms, facilitating the smooth trade along the “Belt and Road”, promoting cooperation in various fields, and serving enterprises. In particular, a series of B2B trade matchmaking activities held during the session have effectively improved the economic and trade efficiency, which has been well received by the majority of ASEAN exhibitors. Representatives from Indonesia said that in the past 16 years, the China-ASEAN Expo has become an important platform for Asian investment and trade promotion activities and a model for good cooperation between China and ASEAN countries.
Laos confirmed to serve as the Country of Honor of the 17th China-ASEAN Expo. The 17th China-ASEAN Expo is tentatively scheduled for September 18-21, 2020, with five topics – commodity trade, investment cooperation, trade in service, advanced technology, and “City of Charm”. The China-ASEAN Expo Secretariat is studying the matters on the special partners for the next Expo according to the China-ASEAN Expo’s invitation mechanism for special partners.
The 16th China-ASEAN Expo Awards Ceremony was held. Wu Zhiwei and Wang Lei presented medals and souvenirs to representatives of the co-organizers from 10 ASEAN countries and ASEAN Secretariat in gratitude for their contribution to a successful China-ASEAN Expo.