China and ASEAN should quickly complete negotiations for the third version of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said at the opening of the 20th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS) in China on Sunday.
PM Chinh on Sunday afternoon wrapped up his trip to neighboring China to attend the two events in Nanning City, the capital city of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China, on Saturday and Sunday.
Delivering a speech at the opening of the two events, he suggested the governments of China and ASEAN countries boost their bilateral trade relations in a balanced and sustainable manner.
Their trade surged to US$975.6 billion last year from $78.2 billion in 2003, making them each other’s largest trade partner.
PM Chinh thus called for the two sides’ efforts to make ASEAN China’s first partner to reach trade value of $1 trillion.
He also urged the two sides to expand the piloting of smart border gates to meet their trade demand.
The Vietnamese government leader affirmed that Vietnam supports the cooperation between China and ASEAN in the open-minded, sincere, reliable, and equal spirit for the prosperity of nations in the region and in the world.
ASEAN and China should foster the traffic infrastructure connection and build linkage chains from raw material areas to production centers and consumption systems, the Vietnamese official said.
“We share the same goals and larger mutual benefits when jointly supporting the corporate community to expand their investment, production, and business, creating livelihoods for residents and foundations for peace, stability, and long-term cooperation in the region and in the world as a whole.”
China and ASEAN established the first version of their free trade area in 2010 and laucnhed an upgraded version in 2019.
The negotiations on the third version of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area were launched in November 2022 and expected to finish next year.
Dr. Vu Quy Son from the Institute of Chinese Studies told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the talks between PM Chinh and his Chinese counterpart Li Qiang on Saturday showed the importance of maintaining and boosting high-ranking delegation exchanges between the two countries.
China tends to enhance practical cooperation with Vietnam through its international cooperation initiatives to get the Southeast Asian country’s support in regional and international issues.
It is focusing on the cooperation of ministries, agencies, and the localities bordering Vietnam with equivalent units in Vietnam, Son added.
In the future, China may focus on trade collaboration to ease the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and upgrade infrastructure connectivity with Vietnam and ASEAN as a whole.