Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan (C) talks to Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez (not in photo) during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN Economic Ministers' Meeting and related meetings in Pasay City, the Philippines, Sept. 8, 2017. China's minister of commerce said Friday the country will continue to extend support for ASEAN community building and prioritize its trade cooperation with ASEAN countries. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)
MANILA, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- China's minister of commerce said Friday the country will continue to extend support for ASEAN community building and prioritize its trade cooperation with ASEAN countries.
Zhong Shan, who is attending the ASEAN Economic Ministers' Meeting and related meetings in Manila, made the remarks at the 16th consultations between ASEAN economic ministers and Chinese minister of commerce.
"China and ASEAN are enjoying a close cooperation partnership in economy and trade," Zhong said. "China has maintained its position as ASEAN's largest trading partner for eight years in a row, and ASEAN has been China's third largest trade partner for the last six years."
He disclosed that the two-way Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) between China and ASEAN has reached 185 billion U.S. dollars, adding that the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area agreement has been updated and is being smoothly implemented.
Zhong proposed several points in cooperation with ASEAN, saying that China is willing to widen pragmatic cooperation in more sectors with the bloc.
Zhong invited ASEAN countries to join the "Belt and Road" building efforts, saying that China is willing to better synergize the initiative with ASEAN's development strategy in order to further enhance China-ASEAN economic and trade relations.
China will concentrate its efforts on further deepening the cooperation of infrastructure connectivity between China and ASEAN, Zhong said, adding that the advantages China is enjoying in capital, expertise and experience will give a boost to building connectivity inside ASEAN as a whole.
Zhong said that China is willing to deepen cooperation in production capacity investment between China and ASEAN, including the development of industrial parks, adding that the bilateral investment and economic cooperation between the two sides has been stronger.
Zhong also said China will try its best to enhance assistance cooperation with ASEAN with the aim of reducing the development gap in the ASEAN region, enhancing national development capacity, fueling regional economic growth and promoting the ASEAN community building.
Zhong also invited ASEAN member countries to take part in the China International Import Expo in 2018, hoping that it will serve as an important platform for everybody and play a big role in increasing ASEAN's exports to China.