Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli (Source: VNA)
Beijing (VNA) – Cooperation between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have seen great progress in numerous fields, including trade and finance, affirmed Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.

Zhang made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the 14th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS) in Nanning, capital of China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on September 12.

In recent years, China and ten ASEAN members have intensified connectivity on policy, infrastructure, trade, finance and people-to-people diplomacy.

From 1991 to 2016, bilateral trade volume grew nearly 56-fold while two-way accumulative investment volume rose nearly 355-fold, Zhang said.  

China has been ASEAN's biggest trade partner for the past eight years, while ASEAN has been China’s third largest trade partner for six years.

In the first seven months of this year, two-way trade increased by 14.5 percent year on year, higher than China’s overall trade growth rate. 

In terms of finance, China and the 10 ASEAN countries were among the founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which since 2016 has provided funding totaling 2.8 billion USD to 17 projects in nine developing countries in Asia. 

According to Zhang, the upgrade of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, already in effect, will inject new impetus to bilateral economic and trade development.

The four-day CAEXPO attracted 2,709 exhibitors, up 1.5 percent from the previous event, while the number of buyers is expected to exceed 10,000, including about 4,000 international buyers.-VNA