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China-ASEAN Free Trade Area benefits both sides: Chinese Commerce Minister

Source:   Time:

HONOLULU, the United States, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming has said that China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, launched at the beginning of last year, accords with the mutual interests of China and ten nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and brings advantage to both sides.

Chen made the remarks during his meetings with Indonesian Trade Minister Gita Wirijawan and Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Kittirat Na Ranong on Friday on the sidelines of the week-long Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings held in Honolulu, Hawaii.

According to information made available to Xinhua Saturday, Chen said in his meeting with Gita that China and Indonesia have witnessed a sound development of bilateral economic and trade relations. The China-ASEAN Free Trade Area has provided a new platform for the bilateral economic and trade cooperation, with more benefits and opportunities for enterprises from both countries.

Chinese enterprises, especially those from the southern part of China, are keen to invest in Indonesia, said Chen, adding that China would like to discuss with Indonesia on creating areas similar to industrial parks so as to attract more Chinese enterprises and enterprises from other countries to invest in the Southeast Asian country.

Gita said Indonesia will commit to the consensus reached between leaders of both countries to increase the volume of bilateral trade from current 34 billion U.S. dollars to 80 billion U.S. dollars in three or four years.

He welcomed Chinese enterprises to invest in Indonesia, adding it will be conducive to the realization of the trade goal.

Saying that the economies of Indonesia and China have been complimentary to each other, Gita expressed the will of comprehensive and long-term cooperation between both sides.

During his meeting with Kittirat, Chen first expressed sympathy to the flood victims in the country, saying that China would like to offer assistance to the rescue and reconstruction efforts and strengthen cooperation in areas including infrastructure construction with Thailand.

He said China and ASEAN nations should promote the substantial cooperation among member nations of the China-ASEAN free trade area, the largest free trade area in the world, improve infrastructure including highways, railroads, ports, telecommunication and electricity, so as to benefit the enterprises and people in the regions.

China encourages enterprises to invest in the ASEAN nations and would like to conduct cooperation with enterprises from Thailand and other countries, Chen added.

Kittirat, expressing his gratitude to China's help to the flood disaster, said that Thailand attaches great importance to the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area.

Noting that Chinese enterprises are well-experienced in the construction of highways, railroads and bridges, he said Thailand welcomes Chinese enterprises to participate the construction and investment projects in these areas.

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