Saturday, May 15, 2010

China to Create More Trading Opportunities Under ASEAN-China FTA

Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Liu Jian said that although some sectors were concerned that the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area Agreement would constitute an impact to their businesses, nevertheless, as a responsible big country, China has been using its own means to help the world economy out of recession and to walk toward economic recovery.

Average Annual Growth Rate
Ambassador Liu Jian pointed out that based on statistics, from 2003 to 2009 at the 'early harvest' stage of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA), the average annual growth rate of two-way trade between China and ASEAN was 18.2 per cent. The volume of trade between Malaysia and China has been rising.

'In particular, Malaysia's exports to China have been strong. For two consecutive years, Malaysia has continued to become China's largest trading partner within the ASEAN region. In 2009, China has also become Malaysia's biggest trading partner. Such statistics speak louder than words.' Ambassador Liu Jian said this in his address delivered at a forum titled 'A Strong China -- Implications and Challenges', which was organized by the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM). It was held on 27 April in Kuala Lumpur.

Among the participants who attended this Forum were the Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia (DPMM) President Syed Ali Alatas and DPMM Secretary General Datuk Syed Hussein, ACCCIM Secretary General Datuk David Chua, and Deputy International Trade and Industries Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir. Earlier, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has also given a speech at this Forum.

Ambassador Liu Jian said that as China and ASEAN gradually moved toward the process in the full implementation of ASEAN-China Free Trade Area, what the Free Trade Area brought would not cause negative to ASEAN and China would create more trade opportunities to the region.

Win-Win Benefit Principle
'Of course, we should be aware that in the process of building up the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area, all parties are required to make certain adjustments. These changes and adjustments are conducive to enhancing national competitiveness to order to achieve bigger and better development.' He said that China and ASEAN are both friendly neighbors and strategic partners. Through years of mutual understanding and years of mutual support, China and ASEAN had overcome major challenges one after another, and obtained glorious and fruitful achievements together one after another.

China envoy to Malaysia Liu Jian added that in today's post global financial crisis era, as an important new economic power, China and ASEAN should follow the emerging flow of trade and catch hold of the opportunities through the full implementation of ASEAN-China Free Trade Area as both parties continue to expand and deepen economic and trade cooperation together. 'We should promote each other's economy towards a larger scale, a higher quality, a more sustainable direction. We should enhance the position of this regional economy in the world economy and make greater contribution for the growth in global economic recovery and toward greater economic prosperity and stability.'

Ambassador Liu Jian also said that China would firmly stick to the policy 'to spread goodwill with its neighbors and to take neighbors as partners and companions'. He said China would insist on adhering to the principle of reaping mutual benefit together and to develop mutual ground together. He said that China would continue to deepen the strategic partnership between ASEAN and to push the East Asian cooperation framework to a higher step.

Mahathir's Perception of China
On the other, former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad, who presented his address earlier at the Forum opined that China would become the world strongest country. He said this was a trend that no one or no country could avoid. As such, he said countries should not treat China as enemy but instead treat China as their cooperation partner. He said that with the continual economic growth in China, China would certainly become a world power in the future and that China's achievement could supersede the United States. He said:

'This is not something that cannot happen. As such world major powers, including the United States, must accept such a fact. At the same time, they should also show their concern in this development. This is because nobody can prevent China from becoming the world strongest nation.'

Mahathir also opined that with the gradual emergence of China, other countries should only take China as friend and not as enemy. He said: 'If you consider China as your enemy, then China will become your enemy.'

'Although China has many opportunities and although China has the capability to invade other countries, but China did not do so. As such we should not worry about this issue. Instead we should strengthen our trade ties with China.' In addition, Mahathir also remarked that with the exception of extravagant and luxurious items, no other country could compete with China in their production low cost items.

On Sino-US relationship, Mahathir said both countries should co-exist peacefully. Otherwise, once these two countries that process nuclear weapons stage war with each other, the whole world could be destroyed by them.

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