This 19th consultation took place within the framework of the 52nd Meeting of ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM-52) and related meetings in the form of a teleconference.

The two sides shared the view that China has been ASEAN’s largest trade partner since 2009, with total trade value amounting to 507.9 billion USD last year, or 18 percent of the bloc’s total trade.

Chinese FDI in ASEAN reached about 9.1 trillion USD last year, accounting for 5.7 percent of total FDI injected into the bloc.

At the consultations

2020 marks the 10th anniversary of ASEAN-China comprehensive economic ties, with the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area put into operation comprehensively.

Delegates reached consensus on the next steps to deal with shortcomings in the cooperative program in the time ahead.

They said the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement has remained the top priority of ASEAN, and negotiations on trade liberalization and more intensive and extensive investment will be carried out only after the deal is signed.

The ministers also stressed the significance of joint efforts in enhancing cooperation in order to promote trade and investment, towards post-COVID-19 economic recovery.

They, therefore, applauded the joint statement on boosting cooperation within the free trade agreement as well as in the fight against the pandemic.

Source: VNA