NANNING (VNS)— China joined with ASEAN member states on Saturday to launch a co-operative science and technology plan on the sidelines of the ninth China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, capital of China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
Under the plan, key areas of co-operation would include development of national science strategies, planning and management of major scientific programmes, disaster prevention, information technology and space technology.
The two sides also initiated their first co-operative programme under the plan, under which a satellite data platform based on Chinese satellite data resources would be shared with ASEAN countries to help forecast farm output, monitor the environment and anticipate natural disasters.
The China-ASEAN science and technology partnership was first proposed by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the 14 th China-ASEAN summit held on the Indonesian island of Bali in November of last year.
For last week's ASEAN-China Expo, representatives from as many as 200 Vietnamese and Chinese businesses gathered to discuss ways to expand trade between China and the Southeast Asian bloc. The event also included a Viet Nam-China (Guangxi) business co-operation forum, formed as part of the China-ASEAN Business-Investment Summit and organised by the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI). Participating businesses operate in the fields of construction, equipment, materials and agricultural processing.
Bilateral trade between Viet Nam and China enjoyed annual growth of 32 per cent during 2000-10. It grew 30.7 per cent in 2011 to US$35.7 billion, said the deputy head of VCCI's international relations department, Pham Quang Thinh.
Trade between Guangxi and Vietnamese border provinces exceeded $7.5 billion, a year-on-year surge of 47.7 per cent, said Ding Yuan Long, deputy director of the trade department of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Viet Nam's regular sending of businesses to the annual expo in Guangxi reflected the importance of commercial co-operation between the two countries, he said, noting that Vietnamese businesses had so far invested in 23 projects in Guangxi, worth over $90 million.
Guangxi Province, meanwhile, had invested in 133 projects in Viet Nam worth over $273 million. Overall, China has 866 operating projects in Viet Nam worth over $4.5 billion, making it the 14th leading source of foreign investment in Viet Nam out of 96 countries and territories worldwide.
At last week's expo, People's Bank of China deputy governor Pan Gongsheng also called for deepening financial co-operation between China and ASEAN member countries, urging them to enhance financial policy co-ordination and step up co-operation in such areas as financial market stability and battling money laundering.
Pan urged concerted efforts be made on all sides to intensify the monitoring of cross-border capital flows and create a co-operative model for interbank currency clearing.
Small business fair
Viet Nam and Ecuador have also joined for the first time in co-organising the China International Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises Fair 2012 (CISMEF 2012). The four-day fair opened in the Chinese city of Guangdong on Saturday, with the participation of more than 3,000 businesses from 31 Chinese provinces and cities as well as others from 30 countries and territories.
Vietnamese businesses are showcasing products on an area of 3,000sq.m at the fair.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Thanh Bien said small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) accounted for over 97 per cent of Vietnamese businesses, generated half of the nation's jobs and contributed about 40 per cent of the country's GDP.
SMEs were playing an important role in increasing standards of living, helping reduce poverty and actively supporting the development of larger enterprises, Bien said.
The participation of a large number of Vietnamese SMEs at this event reflected the Government's efforts to remove obstacles for businesses and create conditions for them to seek co-operative opportunities with foreign partners, he stressed.
Over the weekend, the Vietnamese delegation met with leaders of Guangdong Province and the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. — VNS