Business leaders from China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are expected to further strengthen cooperation at the upcoming 20th China-ASEAN Expo to be held from Sept 16 to 19 in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
The expo will reinforce cooperation brought by the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement and advance version 3.0 of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, the Ministry of Commerce said during a news conference in Beijing on Friday.
This year, the expo will attract nearly 1,700 companies from more than 40 countries to participate, with the international exhibition section accounting for over 30 percent of the total exhibition area.
The exhibition scale of ASEAN has rebounded to the pre-COVID level. A group of Fortune Global 500 enterprises will participate in the exhibition, according to the local government of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
"The expo will focus on the promotion of high-quality development of the economies involved in the Belt and Road Initiative. Topics including cross-border e-commerce, agriculture and the green economy will be discussed," said Li Fei, vice-minister of commerce.
China has been ASEAN's largest trading partner for 14 consecutive years, and ASEAN became China's top trading partner in 2020, surpassing the European Union. Last year, the trade volume between China and ASEAN reached $975.3 billion, up 11.2 percent year-on-year and surging by 120 percent from the level seen in 2013, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
During the exhibition, China will highlight cooperation with ASEAN in key areas such as the digital economy, green economy, the security and stability of industrial and supply chains, and trade and investment facilitation.
"China will comprehensively expand its cooperation with ASEAN, jointly increase the trade scale, strengthen cross-border e-commerce cooperation, and continue to strengthen investment cooperation in sectors such as steel, petrochemicals, textiles and auto-motives," Li said.
The expo will realize digital visualization of all venues for the first time and will also hold an anniversary achievement show to highlight its fruitful achievements over the past 20 years.
Meanwhile, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade has continued to promote comprehensive cooperation between China and ASEAN. In the first half of this year, branches of the CCPIT nationwide issued some 96,000 RCEP Certificates of Origin, which will grant companies tariff reductions, jumping by 70 percent year-on-year.
"We cooperate with ASEAN leaders to visit China, organize Chinese entrepreneurs to visit ASEAN member countries, and promote comprehensive bilateral practical cooperation," said Zhang Shaogang, vice-chairman of the CCPIT.