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2015 Business Review XIV: Carry out and Implement the Peripheral Strategies and Deepen the Trade and Economic Cooperation with Asian Countries

2015 marks the beginning year of the construction and implementation of the 鈥淏elt and Road鈥 Over the past year, the trade and economic connection between China and Asian countries was closer, the interaction was unprecedentedly frequent and the cooperation fruits showed many highlights, laying a favorable foundation for the construction of the 鈥淏elt and Road鈥

Firstly, the status of the Asian countries in the foreign trade and economic pattern of China was constantly improved. In January-November 2015, the trade volume between China and 25 Asian countries reached US$1.1 trillion, accounting for one third of the total foreign trade volume of China. By the end of November 2015, the foreign capital attracted from 25 Asian countries was US$264.8 billion, accounting for 17% of the total inbound foreign capital of China. Singapore marks the largest source of foreign investment in China in the recent three years. 鈥淕oing abroad鈥was a highlight of the trade and economic cooperation between China and 25 Asian countries. By the end of November 2015, the contract value of the projects signed by the Chinese enterprises in the above countries was US$454.6 billion and the completed turnover was US$305.9 billion, accounting for 30% and 29% of the national total respectively. The employees dispatched abroad were 350,000, accounting for 41% of the national amount. The foreign investment was US$50.3 billion, accounting for 8.2% of the total foreign investment of China. ASEAN was the largest overseas project contracting market of China and the second largest overseas investment destination following Hong Kong. Japan was the largest overseas labor market of China.

Secondly, the high-level reciprocal visits led the bilateral practical cooperation. When president visited Pakistan, he announced the new measures of assistance to Pakistan, which consolidated the basis of the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic partnership and set an example for the construction of the 鈥淏elt and Road鈥 When Xi visited Singapore, he announced to start the upgrading negotiation of the China-Singapore free trade agreement and the third intergovernmental project between China and Singapore. When Xi visited Turkey, the two sides signed the Agreement on Carrying out the Cooperation in the Railway Field between the Governments of the Two Countries and promoted the east-west high-speed rail project to obtain substantial progress. Premier Li Keqiang attended the leaders鈥conference of the East Asian cooperation in Malaysia, completed the China-ASEAN FTA upgrading negotiation and signed the Protocol of this upgrading negotiation. Chairman Zhang Dejiang visited Laos, attended the opening ceremony of the China-Laos railway and launched the implementation work of the China-Laos railway. Vice Premier Wang Yang visited South Korea, promoted the China-South Korea FTA to obtain positive progress and cleared the final obstacles of signing the bilateral free trade agreement. State Councilor Wang Yongguo presided over the fourth conference of the China-Thailand Joint Committee of Economics and Trade in Thailand, comprehensively promoted the cooperation between China and Thailand in all fields and attended the launching ceremony of the China-Thailand railway cooperation project.

Thirdly, the intergovernmental cooperation mechanism tends to be richer. In 2015, the Ministry of Commerce started the China-India high-level economic dialogue at the vice-premier level and the vice-ministerial mechanism of the China-South Korea park cooperation. MOFCOM also re-started the China-Japan-South Korea trade and economic ministerial conference, the China-Japan economic partnership negotiation and the negotiation between the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry at the vice-ministerial level. Besides, MOFCOM held the bilateral joint committee of economics and trade conference at the vice-premier or ministerial level with countries such as Thailand, Afghanistan and Maldives. This promoted the establishment of the joint committee of trade and economics mechanism at the vice-ministerial level with East Timor, and set up the new platform for Chinese enterprises to participate in the economic construction of East Timor. Furthermore, the Ministry of Commerce made full use of all kinds of exhibition platforms to support and promote local areas and enterprises to go abroad, held the first China-Mongolia Expo, supported the local governments to hold the High-level Forum of the Northeast Asian Trade and Economic Cooperation, the South Asian Expo and the China-ASEAN Expo, etc.

Fourthly, the progress of the regional economic integration speeded up. The Ministry of Commerce actively participated in the cooperation with cooperation mechanism such as East Asia, sub-region of Mekong, APEC and BRICKS. Besides, MOFCOM strived to build the peripheral free trade area network and set up the China-South Korea FTA. Furthermore, MOFCOM completed the China-ASEAN FTA upgrading negotiation, and started the China-Maldives FTA negotiation, the China-Singapore FTA upgrading negotiation, promoted the China-Japan-South Korea, the China-Sri Lanka, the RCEP and the second phase of China-Pakistan FTA negotiations.

Fifthly, the construction of the 鈥淏elt and Road鈥was steadily promoted. In 2015, the construction of the peripheral channel made new progress. Strategic projects such as the East-West high-speed rail of Turkey, the China-Laos railway and the China-Thailand railway made a breakthrough. Significant cooperative projects in the transportation infrastructure such as the China-Pakistan economic corridor, the upgrading and transformation of the Karakorum Highway under the project of the BCIM economic corridor, the Lahore rail transit lines and the 鈥渢wo big and two small鈥were promoted orderly. The China-Maldives friendship bridge had a smooth start. Besides, the Ministry of Commerce made full use of the demonstration role of the China-Malaysia 鈥渢wo countries two parks鈥mechanism to promote the industrial park cooperation with countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, Bengal, Indonesia and South Korea and the cooperation of the crow-border economic cooperation zone between China and Laos, China and Vietnam, China and Burma and China and Mongolia.

2016 marks the first year of the 鈥3th Five-Year Plan鈥 The Ministry of Commerce will continue to implement the policies of opening up and peripheral economic relationship. MOFCOM will steadily promote the comprehensive mutually-beneficial cooperation in all fields with neighboring countries centering on the construction of the 鈥淏elt and Road鈥and push forward the trade and economic cooperation with Asian countries to a new level.

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