Ambitious goals set out for regional business event
Source: ChinaDaily Time:2017-09-19 11:16:37
The 14th China-ASEAN Expo, a major platform connecting members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, has set itself big goals for its ongoing meeting on Sept 12-15 in Nanning.
It focuses on the integration of the economies involved in ASEAN and the Belt and Road Initiative.
Nanning is the capital city of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
As the permanent host of the China-ASEAN Expo and a hub city for the China-ASEAN Free Trade Zone, Guangxi wants to accelerate the pace of its opening-up using its geographic advantages.
It will also integrate with the Belt and Road Initiative, said Peng Qinghua, Party chief of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
The ASEAN member countries are an important part of the Belt and Road Initiative, he said.
Besides, Guangxi aims to fulfill its mission as an international passageway connecting ASEAN countries and China, Peng said.
It is a pillar of the development strategy of China's southwestern regions and a key hub linking countries related to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
About 2,000 years ago, Guangxi launched shipping routes to India and Sri Lanka.
In recent years, the harbors on the Beibu Gulf in Guangxi have registered total throughput of more than 240 million metric tons per year.
The autonomous region has 29 shipping routes connecting foreign countries, to facilitate trade among China, Southeast Asia and beyond.
Peng said Nanning had successfully held 13 sessions of the China-ASEAN Expo. He added that it had helped to establish a consultation mechanism between China and ASEAN countries. This was in the fields of commerce, transportation, science and technology, culture, environmental protection, poverty alleviation as well as tourism.
Peng said that in the process it had become a key platform for all-round cooperation in politics, business and culture.
The autonomous region has also implemented various financial reform initiatives to accelerate the construction of a regional cross-border renminbi exchange platform, according to Peng.
By the end of 2016, Peng said the level of cross-border renminbi settlements in Guangxi totaled 700 billion ($108.56 billion).
The settlement levels ranked it ahead of Chinese provinces and autonomous regions in western China for seven consecutive years.
During the five years from 2011 to 2015, the average annual growth of the region's foreign trade volume hit 23.7 percent. In 2016, Guangxi's trade volume with ASEAN countries totaled 183.5 billion yuan.
"ASEAN countries have been Guangxi's biggest trading partners in the past 15 years," Peng said.
"The following years will see a brighter future in trade and investment cooperation."
Brunei is the country of honor at this year's China-ASEAN Expo. Magdalene Teo, Brunei's ambassador to China, said her country attached great importance to this year's expo and more than 100 exhibitors from Brunei are present at the event.
Kazakhstan was invited to the expo as a special partner. It is the first time for a country involved in the Silk Road Economic Belt - other than ASEAN members - to be a special partner at the event.
Wang Lei, secretary-general of the expo's secretariat, said that this year's China-ASEAN Expo has enriched its content.
It did this, he said, by inviting countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative and set special exhibition areas for the Belt and Road Initiative related countries from outside ASEAN.