|Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc visits Quang Ninh Province's showroom at the 12th China ASEAN Expo in Nanning, Guangxi Province, China. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Tung
NANNING (VNS) — ASEAN and Chinese leaders agreed yesterday at an expo in China that the countries must enhance multilateral co-operation, trade and economic exchanges.
Attending the opening ceremony of the 12th China ASEAN Expo in Nanning, Guangxi Province, leaders and officials said they believed business co-operation could only thrive on a foundation of trust and respect.
The expo is held annually in China to promote trade among China and ASEAN countries. This year's theme is Building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and Creating a New Blueprint for Maritime Co-operation.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the coming ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which is scheduled to be formed by 2016, would enhance co-operation between ASEAN member countries, as well as trade between the bloc and its numerous partners, including China.
The AEC would increase the flow of goods and trade opportunities, as well as people-to-people exchanges, he said. Viet Nam welcomed any initiatives that could promote trade and economic development in the region, as they were built on regional stability, mutual understanding and mutual benefits.
"We believe this is the desire and hope of every country in the ASEAN community and in the world as well," he said.
Speaking at the ceremony, Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said the event was a great opportunity to strengthen regional trade.
"Our economic integration has made significant progress over the years," Zhang said. "China has become the number one trade partner of ASEAN and ASEAN the third biggest partner of China."
He added that this showed great promise for co-operation on a larger scale "as long as we adhere to the principles of mutual benefits, regional stability and mutual understanding. Political trust is significant to enhance trade co-operation."
The 12th China ASEAN Expo, which started on Wednesday and ends today, includes 27 high-level forums and exchange activities. Its five pavilions feature commodity and service trade, investment co-operation and advanced technology.
Vietnamese firms occupy about 200 booths out of the expo's total 4,600 booths.
Duong Hung of Biti's Company, a Vietnamese footwear manufacturer, said his company had participated in the expo for 12 years.
"It has given us a lot of opportunities to do business with foreign partners, especially Chinese firms," he said. "Our revenue from overseas sales has increased steadily, about 10 to 15 per cent each year."
The China ASEAN Expo has aimed to showcase international co-operation with the first-ever China-ASEAN International Capacity Co-operation Series Activities, which includes the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and Promoting International Capacity Co-operation Forum, the International Economic and Capacity Co-operation Exhibition, and business networking programmes for international co-operation projects.
The expo also features the China-ASEAN Maritime Co-operation Exhibition, the Nanning International Arts Festival of Folk Songs, the China-ASEAN Youth Arts Contest and other cultural exchange events. — VNS