Nanning, China - The China-Asean Expo (CAEXPO) has produced fruitful outcomes one year after another, providing a platform for promoting friendly exchanges, economy and trade, as well as cooperation in multiple fields, whereby a bigger and better CAEXPO has widened the path for a win-win.
This was stated yesterday at the 9th CAEXPO's opening ceremony, which was officially opened with the theme 'Science and Technology Cooperation' at the Chinese Hibiscus Hall of the Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Centre, by Ma Biao, the Governor of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, who added that the outcomes were achieved with the joint efforts of China and 10 Asean member countries.
"Guangxi, as the organiser of CAEXPO, is ready to write a new chapter in the history of the China-Asean friendship and cooperation by strengthening ties with the parties concerned to jointly build the Guangxi Beibu Gulf Economic Zone, to jointly advance the cooperation of Pan-Beibu Gulf Economic Zone and the Greater Mekong Sub-region, as well as the construction of the Nanning-Singapore Economic Corridor," Ma Biao also said.
The ceremony was attended by the Standing Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping; President U Thein Sein of Myanmar, the Country of Honour of the 9th CAEXPO; Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong; Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung; Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Mohamad Yassin; Thai Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, as well as Cambodian Senior Minister and the Minister of Commerce, Cham Prasidh.
Meanwhile, representing Brunei at the event was the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Yahya bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar.
The 9th CAEXPO also marks the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Cooperation between China and Asean and the China-Asean Year of Science and Technology Cooperation, which has special significance.
The opening ceremony was chaired by U Win Myint, the Minister of Commerce of Myanmar, the Country of Honour of the 9th CAEXPO; Ma Biao, the Governor of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the host of CAEXPO; Gao Hucheng, the International Trade Representative and Vice Minister of Commerce of China, and President U Thein Sein of Myanmar, who all delivered their respective speeches.
According to Gao Hucheng, the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Cooperation between China and Asean signed 10 years ago marked the official launching of the building of the China-Asean Free Trade Area (CAFTA), and that over the past 10 years, the participating nations have jointly built the platform of the CAEXPO, fully followed through on the Framework Agreement, achieved the full operation of CAFTA as scheduled, and advanced the common development in the region.
He also said that the 9th CAEXPO promises to be a grand event, which will comprehensively showcase the new achievements and opportunities offered by CAFTA and bring more benefits to the enterprises and people from all sides.
Meanwhile, U Thein Sein said, "It gives me great pleasure to have the opportunity to speak as the Country of Honour and on behalf of my Asean colleagues at the 9th China-Asean Expo, which plays a crucial role in promoting friendship and trade between Asean and China.
"Today, Asean-China relations have started to enter the third decade. We highly appreciate, the initiatives made by China to strengthen relations with Asean. When Asean and China established relations in 1991, we focused mainly on economic cooperation and trade. Throughout the decades, the relationship has been strengthened and it has brought mutual benefits."
Asean member states attach great importance to the CAEXPO, which encompasses friendly exchanges between Asean and China, trade and economic promotion and multi-sectorial cooperation.
The CAEXPO has now become one of the main vehicles for the full realisation of the Asean-China Free Trade Area.
U Thein Sein revealed that China has become Asean's largest partner in 2009. The volume of trade between them has seen an increase of 20.9 per cent in 2011 from 2010.
"Asean is China's third largest trading partner and the balance of trade amounting US$11.0 billion in favour of Asean was realised for the first time in 2011. The foreign direct investment from China to Asean has also increased significantly over 100 per cent in 2011 compared to 2010. This is a very good trend and we should keep this momentum. We highly appreciate China's support for Asean's centrality in the evolving regional architecture, and for the Asean integration process in building the Asean Community by 2015."
"The market of Asean and China is indeed a huge one. We both have our own distinguished characteristics and are endowed with natural and human resources. Above all, we are situated in a rapidly growing Asia-Pacific region.
"The present Asia-Pacific region has become the centre of gravity in the international relations and trade. Hence, it is important for all of us to work together to promote peace and development in our region," he added.
Following the opening ceremony, Xi Jinping, Vice President of the People's Republic of China; Thein Sein, President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar; Thongsing Thammavong, Prime 'Minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic; Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; the Honourable Tan Sri Dato' Hj Muhyiddin bin Hj MohdYassin, the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia; Kittiratt Na-Ranong, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the Kingdom of Thailand; Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce of the Kingdom of Cambodia; Pehin Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya, the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources of Brunei Darussalam; Gusmardi Bustami, the Director General for National Export Development of the Ministry of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia; Cristino L Panlilio, the Undersecretary of Trade and Industry of the Republic of the Philippines; Lee Yi Shyan, the Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of National Development of the Repubk of Singapbre; Lim Hong Hin, the Deputy Secretary-General of Asean; Gao Hucheng, China's International Trade Representative and the Vice Minister of Commerce; and Guo Shengkun, Secretary of the Communist Party of China Guangxi Committee, came onstage to cut ribbons for the 9th CAEXPO. The long scroll, put on the table for ribbon-cutting, drew the attention of all the audience members. The 14 VIPs then untied the red silk, which unbound the scroll and exposed a piece of the "grand picture" illustrating the achievements and prospects of the China-Asean cooperation.
The picture, or plan, expressed the consensus of a win-win and common development achieved only through cooperation, and displayed the confidence of China and the 10 Asean countries to jointly create a brighter future through the platform formed by the CAEXPO.
Amidst confetti and colourful ribbons that came down from the ceiling amid thunderous applause, the 9th CAEXPO opened with grandeur and pomp.
About 1,000 people attended the ceremony, including the top officials of Ministries of China, the leaders of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, internationally renowned business leaders, the heads of chambers of commerce, researchers of regional economy, as well as representatives of exhibitors and traders.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin