China's import volume this year is to exceed US$500 billion, Chinese Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai told some foreign guests attending the ongoing China-ASEAN Expo held in Nanning, capital city of southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
During the expo, Bo met respectively with Indonesian Minister of Trade and Industry Marie Elka Pangestu, Brunei Minister of Industry and Primary Products Resources Pehin Dato Abdul Rahman and Thai Deputy Minister of Commerce Anutin Charnveerakul.
China attaches great importance to developing its economic cooperation with the ASEAN, hoping Indonesia will play an important role in promoting the process of the China-ASEAN free trade area, Bo told Marie Elka Pangestu.
Bo said China encourages its enterprises to undertake direct cooperation with their counterparts of Indonesia and other ASEAN nations, and will consider seriously Indonesia's proposal on enhancing bilateral cooperation in infrastructure, investment and trade.
Marie Elka Pangestu said it is Indonesia's hope that the regional economic integration will be realized through the establishment of the China-ASEAN free trade area, which is of great importance to the further development of the relations between Indonesia and China.
She stressed that the new Indonesian government will not adopt any discriminatory policies to any friend.
During the meeting with Rahman, Bo said the China-ASEAN Expo is not only an important platform built by the governments of China and ASEAN countries for their enterprises, but also a window displaying themselves and showcasing their products.
When meeting with Anutin, Bo spoke highly of the Sino-Thai agreement signed last year on vegetable and fruit trade, saying that the signing of the agreement has given a new impetus to bilateral trade. He welcomed more Thai products to enter the Chinese market.
Anutin said thanks to the joint efforts by the Thai and Chinese governments, bilateral trade has been growing rapidly. He said more than 100 Thai entrepreneurs are currently accompanying him on the China visit, which fully shows their strong wish to do business with China. He expressed the hope that by 2010, bilateral trade will hit the target of 30 billion US dollars.
In November 2002, China and the ASEAN signed a framework agreement on the construction of a free trade area. This year the China-ASEAN trade volume is expected to exceed 100 billion US dollars.
(Xinhua News Agency November 5, 2004)