The 10th China - ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) will be held from September 3-6 in Nanning, the capital of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, marking the 10th anniversary of China – ASEAN strategic partnership.

At a press conference in Beijing on July 23, Vice Chairman of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Zhang Xiaoqin said the trade fair aims to highlight the achievements of the 10-year cooperation between China and ASEAN, while looking to expand the cooperation framework from 10+1 (10 ASEAN countries plus China) to 10+6. He said that Australia will be invited to the expo as an observer.

An annual event since 2004, the CAEXPO is an important forum to promote economic and trade exchange between China and ASEAN’s member countries.

China-ASEAN bilateral trade has surged in the past decade, from almost 55 billion USD in 2002 to 401 billion USD in 2012, with an average annual growth rate of 22 percent.

China is now the biggest trade partner of ASEAN, while ASEAN is the third largest partner of China.

Bilateral investment between the two sides also saw a considerable surge, exceeding 70 billion USD during the past ten years.

Cooperation between China and the 10-nation group in financial assistance also grew significantly in the period.

In both 2009 and 2011, China provided ASEAN with financial loans worth 25 billion USD, of which 10 billion USD was preferential lending.

China is the second biggest tourism market of ASEAN, after Europe, with 73.2 million Chinese visiting ASEAN countries in 2012. The same year, almost 59 million people from ASEAN travelled to China.

The ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.-VNA