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ASEAN ties seen as key to region

By ZHENG YIRAN and SHI RUIPENG in Nanning (China Daily)

Updated: 2023-09-20

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More efforts are needed to enhance cooperation between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in industrial and supply chains for accelerated regional development, government officials and industry experts said during the 20th China-ASEAN Expo, or CAEXPO.

The expo was concluded on Tuesday in Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Cong Liang, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, said: "For years, China and ASEAN have walked a path of cooperation based on good neighborliness, friendship and mutual development. The comprehensive economic partnership provided good momentum for development, and pragmatic cooperation between both sides has yielded fruitful results, effectively promoting regional peace, stability and prosperity.

"To further accelerate the development of the regional economy, China and ASEAN should focus on creating an economic growth center, promoting deeper integration of industrial and supply chains, improving the quality and efficiency of interconnectivity, deepening innovative cooperation in the digital economy, and seizing opportunities for green economic development."

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the China-ASEAN strategic partnership. With joint efforts, industrial cooperation between China and ASEAN has strengthened over the years.

Two-way investments have been extended to a broader span. According to the Guangxi Development and Reform Commission, in the past five years, the autonomous region's investment in ASEAN member states accounted for 59 percent of its total overseas investment.

ASEAN member states have invested in and established 335 foreign-funded enterprises in Guangxi, covering multiple fields: manufacturing, leasing and business services, transportation and warehousing and postal services, the commission said.

China-ASEAN industrial parks are also embracing innovative development. Established in 2013, the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park, situated in China, now has over 25,000 registered enterprises, while the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park, located in Kuantan, capital of Pahang state in Malaysia, has attracted an accumulative investment of around 12 billion yuan ($1.6 billion), creating nearly 20,000 local jobs, the commission said.

Miao Qingwang, vice-chairman of the people's government of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, said: "Guangxi is willing to work with all parties to build a first-class business environment, jointly promote the high-quality development of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, promote cooperation with ASEAN in various fields, build more stable and secure cross-border industrial and supply chains, and serve the construction of a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future."

On Monday, during a promotional event of CAEXPO, agreements for a series of projects related to the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor were signed, further promoting the China-ASEAN cooperation in industrial and supply chains.