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China-ASEAN 2011 bilateral trade to hit record high

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BEIJING, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- The trade value between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will hit a new high this year as the Free Trade Area (FTA) continues to boost momentum, a senior council official said Wednesday.

China and ASEAN nations have witnessed continuous growth of bilateral trade since the FTA was launched at the beginning of last year, said Xu Ningning, executive secretary general of China-ASEAN Business Council.

Trade value totaled 292.78 billion U.S. dollars last year, up 37.5 percent from a year ago. The amount topped that of previous years. In the first 10 months, bilateral trade reached 295.9 billion U.S. dollars, up 25.7 percent year-on-year, according to customs data.

China's top three ASEAN trade partners are Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.

He noted ASEAN nations hope China can keep its currency stable as it helps regional economic stability and yuan is becoming popular in trade settlements.

Under the FTA accord, the average tariff on goods from ASEAN countries to China is reduced to 0.1 percent from 9.8 percent.

The six original ASEAN members, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, will slash the average tariff on Chinese goods from 12.8 percent to 0.6 percent. By 2015, the policy of zero-tariff rate for 90 percent of Chinese goods is expected to extend to the four new ASEAN members, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

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