The fourth China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO), slated for October 28-31,
will focus on port development, official sources said.
This annual event will be held in Nanning, capital of Guangxi
Zhuang Autonomous Region, featuring topics ranging from port
development and cooperation between China and ASEAN, social
development and poverty eradication, cooperation over power for
homes and businesses, to cooperation and sustainable development in
forestry, said Zheng Junjian, deputy secretary-general of the
Secretariat for China-ASEAN Expo.
But the overriding theme of this year's CAEXPO will be port
development and cooperation. To underline the theme a large model
of an ocean liner has been created in the open-air plaza outside
the international exhibition center in Nanning, the permanent venue
CAEXPO organizers have invited ministers of transportation from
10 ASEAN member states, their Chinese counterpart Li Shenglin, as
well as government officials of key port cities of ASEAN and China,
corporate executives of port affairs and logistics companies,
shipping businesses, shipbuilding and repair firms, harbor
investors to attend a forum where participants will exchange views
and publish opportunities for regional port cooperation, said the
CAEXPO Secretariat sources.
"Through our careful preparation efforts, I hope participants to
this year's CAEXPO will be well informed of progress towards the
establishment of a China-ASEAN free trade zone and the development
in Pan-Beibu Gulf cooperation," said Li Jinzao, vice chairman of
Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
More than 700 exhibitors from ASEAN and China will attend this
ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), established
on August 8, 1967 in Bangkok, now groups Indonesia, Malaysia, the
Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar
China and the 10 ASEAN members are speeding up tariff reduction
to facilitate the establishment of the China-ASEAN free trade
China's average tariff on ASEAN goods has been slashed from 9.9
percent to 5.8 percent and will further drop to 2.4 percent by
2009. By the time the free trade zone is established, 93 percent of
products from ASEAN countries will be tariff-free.
China aims to establish free trade zone with Brunei, Indonesia,
Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand by 2010. Free
trade zones with Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar are expected
to be in place by 2015.
Zhang Xiaoqin, secretary general of China-ASEAN Expo
Secretariat, said China and ASEAN have seen fast growth in
bilateral trade in recent years.
According to Zhang, China-ASEAN trade volume was US$160.8
billion last year, while in the first eight months this year,
bilateral trade amounted to US$127.95 billion. The bilateral trade
volume between China and ASEAN is expected to reach US$190 billion
(Xinhua News Agency October 24, 2007)