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China, ASEAN Businessmen Expect More Support for Service Trade
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More encouraging policies for service trade, like tourism, logistics and insurance, are expected by businessmen from China and ASEAN countries attending the ongoing China-ASEAN Expo.


"If we have detailed policies facilitating tourism cooperation between China and ASEAN countries, the business growth will be much faster," said Chen Ying, a company representative for a Guangxi travel agency.


China and ASEAN have agreed to build up the world third largest Free Trade Area (FTA) before 2010. The two sides have completed negotiation on trade in goods, and are currently engaged in talks on trade in service as well as investment.


Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has voiced the businessmen's call at a commemorative summit right before the Expo. In a speech delivered to the summit marking the 15th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations, Wen said "negotiations on trade in service and investment should be accelerated to speed up the process of establishing the China-ASEAN FTA."


At the ongoing Expo, eleven tourism cities from China and ASEAN member countries host exhibition to demonstrate their beautiful scenery and splendid culture, alluring many visitors.


Chen Ying, the travel agency representative, told reporters that Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand have long been desirable destinations for Chinese tourists and are still gaining popularity, while Chinese citizens also start to show interests in Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.


Chinese official statistics show that there are 6.5 million visits between China and ASEAN countries for tourists in 2005.


As the trade between China and ASEAN enjoys brisk growth and world third largest FTA is crystallizing, industry giants in other parts of the world begin to cast their eyes in the region.


Michael Drake, who is taking charge of TNT business in China, said at the Expo that TNT plans to build a logistics network on the land linking China, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and finally Singapore.


The fast growth in trade of goods are bound to bring huge opportunities for logistics sector, said an industry insider here, citing the 23 percent growth rate in trade between China and ASEAN last year.


Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai said at the Expo that the bilateral trade will continue to grow fast this year, at least 20 percent from US$130 billion in 2005.


Confident about his future opportunities, Gan Dongxia, vice general manager of Guangxi Chaoda Transportation Co, Ltd, also has her concern.

The inter-country logistics must be supported by the agreement inked between China and ASEAN in this sector, Gan said, calling for the China-ASEAN agreement on service trade at an early date.


(Xinhua News Agency November 3, 2006)


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