ASEAN and Shaanxi Province to Cooperate on Energy, Tourism
ASEAN Secretariat, 2 March 2010
ASEAN and China’s Shaanxi Province can foster a prosperous business and trade relationship, said the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, today when he welcomed a 17-member delegation from the province to the ASEAN Secretariat. The delegation was led by Mr Zhao Zhengyong, the Executive Vice Governor of Shaanxi Province. The Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia, H.E. Zhang Qiyue, was also in attendance.
“The ASEAN-China Free Trade Area agreement, which came into force on 1 January 2010, is a golden opportunity for businesses in ASEAN Member States and China to capitalise on the many prospects that ACFTA helped open up,” Dr Surin said.
The total trade between ASEAN and China reached USD 192.7 billion in 2008, placing China as ASEAN’s third largest trading partner in 2009, accounting for 11.3% of ASEAN’s total trade. Cumulative foreign direct investment (FDI) flows from China into ASEAN from 2003 to 2008 is USD 5.1 billion.
Dr Surin added that while China may have achieved many milestones in its economic progress, there still remains room for further development in some of its industries. In particular, Dr Surin encouraged China to enhance their cooperation with ASEAN in the energy sector through coordination and cooperation with the ASEAN Council on Petroleum (ASCOPE) and the ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM). ASEAN has also adopted its Plan of Action on Energy Cooperation 2010-2015. Dr Surin said that Shaanxi Province can share its success stories on its pipeline technology with ASCOPE and AMEM to enable both parties to explore possible collaborative opportunities.
In agreeing that it was important for China to cooperate with ASEAN, Mr Zhao said that as China is facing challenges in the area of energy storage, cooperation with ASEAN can lend further insights on how to better manage their energy resources.
The delegation also discussed possible cooperation in tourism between ASEAN and China. Dr Surin said that tourism plays an important role in helping to bridge the relations between both sides and understand each other’s culture and history.
Both Dr Surin and Mr Zhao agreed that air connectivity is vital in facilitating the movement of tourists and trade. Mr Zhao explained that China requires more direct flights into Southeast Asia, and that tourism is one of China’s main focus. In 2009, visitor arrivals from ASEAN to China amounted to 4.14 million, while ASEAN attracted 3.84 million Chinese tourists.