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China, South Asia jointly weather financial crisis

Source:   Time:

Trade officials from China and South Asian countries at the just-concluded 1st China-South Asia Expo proposed to strengthen cooperation and maintain economic growth amid the lackluster economic rebound.

The expo, which ran from June 6 to 10 in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan province, was held simultaneously with the 21st China Kunming Import and Export Fair.

According to statistics from the expos' organizing committee, transaction volume during both of the five-day fairs reached $17.47 billion, up 116.5 percent compared with last year.

Macky Hashim, former president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), said many South Asian countries have made considerable economic development with the help of cooperation with China at a time when Western nations are struggling against economic woes.

Being complementary to each other in various fields, China and South Asian countries should boost persistent cooperation in order to maintain the stability of the regional economic development, said Masood Khalid, ambassador of Pakistan to China.

Along with the increasingly close economic and trade relations between China and South Asian nations, the bilateral trade volume between China and these countries has increased from $34.7 billion in 2006 to $93 billion in 2012.

China has become an important trade partner and foreign investment source for South Asian countries while these nations are serving as China's major overseas project contracting markets and investment destinations.

Yu Ping, vice chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said China should further expand cooperative areas with South Asian countries.

Small and middle-sized enterprises should strengthen pragmatic joint work with South Asian countries in traditional fields while exploring emerging fields such as financing, environmental protection, and high-tech areas, according to Yu.

Ahmed Saleem, secretary general of the SAARC, said at the expo that senior officials from China and most SAARC member countries have attended the expo, indicating that they are very willing to take bilateral economic and trade relations to a higher level.

The SAARC will keep deepening regional economic cooperation with China and make full use of the abundant resources of both sides so as to help South Asian nations get rid of poverty and make the region a dynamic economic growth point, Saleem vowed.

Rafeeque Ahmed, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organizations, said it is necessary for China and India to develop their trade relations. India hopes to make joint efforts with China in infrastructure construction, skills training, as well as industrial research and development.

In recent years, Bangladesh has attracted many Chinese companies including Huawei, ZTE and Haier Group to invest and set up plants there under a series of preferential policies, according to sources with the Embassy of Bangladesh to China.

China has also implemented an exemption policy on tariffs on about 5,000 imported goods from Bangladesh such as leather products, textiles and electronic components.

Tariq Sayeed, president of the Planet Energy Limited (a Pakistani company), said more products from South Asian countries would be exported to Chinese consumers via the expo.

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