Bilateral trade between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will reach 500 billion USD in 2015, Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Gao Yan was quoted as saying at a press conference in Beijing on July 23.

According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOC), China-ASEAN bilateral trade has surged in the past decade, from 54.77 billion USD in 2002 to 400.1 billion USD in 2012, with an average annual growth rate of 22 percent.

The first half of this year saw a year-on-year increase of 12.2 percent in China-ASEAN trade that totaled 210.56 billion USD, said the MOC.

As ASEAN’s biggest trade partner, China recorded a trade surplus of 8.5 billion USD in 2012 in its trade with the 10-nation group and pledged to increase imports from ASEAN.

By the end of June, Chinese direct investment in ASEAN countries reached around 30 billion USD, while ASEAN direct investment toward China exceeded 80 billion USD, according to the MOC.

The 10th China-ASEAN Expo will be held from September 3-6 in south China ’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, as part of activities to celebrate the 10th anniversary of China-ASEAN partnership.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.-VNA