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China, ASEAN member boost cooperation through industrial parks

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NANNING, July 13 (Xinhua) -- With two sister industrial parks approved by both governments, China and Malaysia are exploring new cooperation platforms under the China-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) framework.

China and Malaysia in April launched their first joint industrial park in southwest China's Qinzhou city in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

The park, with a total planned area of 55 square kilometers near the port of Qinzhou, was first proposed by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during his visit to Kuala Lumpur in April 2011.

It marked China's first such cooperation with an ASEAN member country after the launch of of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) on Jan. 1, 2010.

"China and ASEAN should step up industrial cooperation on the basis of the current preferential policies within the CAFTA framework and explore new investment and cooperation models," Xu Ningning, executive deputy Secretary-General of China-ASEAN Business Council, said at the 7th Pan-Beibu Gulf (PBG) Economic Cooperation Forum.

The Qinzhou Industrial Park will focus on equipment manufacturing, electronic information, new energy and new materials, deep processing of agricultural and sideline products and modern services.

The park is the third industrial park jointly developed by China and another country, with a similar park in Suzhou and an eco-city industrial park in Tianjin.

According to Xiao Yingzi, mayor of Qinzhou, investment in the park had so far topped 350 million yuan (55.6 million U.S. dollars) and more than 2,000 overseas investors had visited the park.

In response to the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park, the Malaysian government had recently approved the establishment of a sister park in Kuantan, a port facing the South China Sea.

Dato Mahani Abidin, Managing Director of Strategic and International Studies Malaysia, said the Kuantan park was still in the planning stage and he hoped to learn from the Qinzhou park and attract more investment from China to speed up the construction.

"The creative practices in the building of China-Malaysia Qinzhou industrial park provide much valuable experiences for Kuantan industrial park," he said.

The industrial cooperation between the two countries came as China became Malaysia's largest trading partner, while Malaysia is China's biggest trading partner among ASEAN member countries.

According to Lin Li, consulate general of Malaysia in Guangzhou, bilateral trade between the tow countries surged 21.3 percent year-on-year to a record high of 90 billion U.S. dollars. The volume was expected to top 100 billion U.S. dollars this year.

"The plan to build industrial parks in Qinszhou and Kuantan can be seen as a turning point of bilateral relations...If the officials and enterprises can keep the current cooperation, the sister parks will surely help Chinese companies to expand business in south-east area and provide more opportunities for both Malaysian and Chinese entrepreneurs," said Ong Chong Yi, Minister Counselor for Economic affairs from Embassy of Malaysia.

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