China-ASEAN trade reach target three years ahead of schedule
April 28th, 2008

Singapore, April 28 (DPA) Trade between China and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) reached $202.5 billion last year, beating a $200-billion target three years ahead of schedule, a report said Monday. The pace of growth is increasing, according to the latest figures in the China-ASEAN Business Council (CABC) quarterly report.

Trade reached $54.4 billion in the first quarter of this year, up 26.2 percent from the corresponding three months of 2007.

China imported $28.8 billion worth of goods from ASEAN in the first quarter. Its exports to the region accounted to $25.61, leaving China with a trade deficit of $3.19 billion, according to the data.

Among the issues to be ironed out are the varying levels of economic development among ASEAN countries, said Xu Ningning, deputy secretary-general of the CABCís secretariat in China.

Other investment barriers include differing labour laws and policies.

An agreement on a China-ASEAN free trade zone is on track to be completed by 2010, Xu said, uniting Chinaís 1.3 billion people and ASEANís 500 million people in a single market.

All products will enjoy zero tariffs under the pact

ASEAN includes Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.