THE ongoing 18th China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit held on time despite a raging pandemic worldwide has testified to the vitality and resilience of an integrated regional market, and showcases the potentials of a key platform to make possible all-round trade and economic cooperation.
Starting Friday both online and offline in Nanning, capital of South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the four-day expo has attracted enterprises from more than 40 countries and regions, with special events to mark the 30th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations.
“This year’s expo provides an important platform to enhance trade and investment opportunities between ASEAN and China during this crucial time of economic recovery, as well as positively contribute to the longstanding relationship between our two sides,” ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi said via video link at the expo’s opening ceremony Friday.
As a crucial facet of China-ASEAN relations, the expo has long been fruitful in helping the two sides synergize their respective development efforts. This year’s edition will host 26 high-level forums and nearly 150 promoting events on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and key industries.
A total of 179 deals worth more than US$46.59 billion, the highest ever figure, were signed late Friday at the expo, a growing number of which are in green economies, according to expo officials.
Experts have said that digital connectivity plays a key role in sustaining the resilience of the regional economy in face of the pandemic. It has become a frontier that could one day grow into “a whole new landscape for ASEAN and China to collaborate, such as in financial technology, that supports our digital transformation agenda,” Lim noted.
Koh Chin Yee, president of Singapore’s South Seas Society, said ASEAN countries, in varying stages of development, have great potential to further cooperate with China in emerging realms such as consumers markets, digital infrastructure, energy, and professional services.
This year’s expo is the second of its kind to set up an exhibition area exclusively for medical service and supplies, with featured life-saving items for front-line workers, including pristine virus-testing equipment, all sorts of medical gloves, and positive-pressure suits.
China’s trade volume of medical products with ASEAN reached US$13.3 billion in the first seven months this year, up 32 percent year on year, said Xu Jinghe, deputy commissioner of the National Medical Products Administration.
The total trade volume of medical products between China and ASEAN hit US$18 billion in 2020, surging by 72 percent year on year, Xu added.