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[Yearly Overview XII for Commerce Work in 2018] Open and Inclusive, Innovatively Promote Economic and Trade Cooperation with Asian Neighbor Countries

2018 marks the first year of fully implementing the spirit of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and the 40th anniversary of reform and opening up. Guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and in accordance with the unified arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, the Ministry of Commerce coordinated domestic and international situations, pursued the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness and the foreign policy of building friendship and partnership with its neighbors, expanded and deepened economic and trade cooperation with Asian neighbor countries and achieved positive results.

The economic and trade cooperation between China and Asian neighbor countries has developed steadily. From January to November 2018, the trade volume between China and the 25 Asian neighbor countries (Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and some West Asian countries, the same below) amounted to US$1.32 trillion, accounting for 31.1% of China's total foreign trade in the same period, and Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia ranked among China's top ten trade partners; the 25 Asian neighbor countries鈥actual investment in China reached US$13.35 billion, accounting for 11% of China's total foreign investment in the same period with Singapore, South Korea and Japan ranking among China鈥檚 top ten sources of foreign investment; China鈥檚 direct investment in 25 Asian neighbor countries was US$11.82 billion, accounting for 10.4% of China's total foreign direct investment in the same period with Singapore, Laos, Indonesia and Pakistan ranking among China鈥檚 top 10 foreign investment destinations; the contractual turnover of Chinese enterprises鈥newly signed projects in 25 Asian neighbor countries was US$54.06 billion and the accomplished turnover was US$50.04 billion, accounting for 29.2% and 36.3% of China's total foreign contracted projects in the same period respectively with Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Bangladesh and Vietnam becoming China's major markets for overseas contracutal projects.

High-level visits have led the direction of cooperation. In 2018, President Xi Jinping paid state visits to Brunei and the Philippines. Premier Li Keqiang went to Cambodia to attend the 2nd Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Leaders' Meeting and visited Cambodia. He also visited Indonesia and Japan and attended the 7th China-Japan-ROK Leaders' Meeting, and went to Singapore to attend the series meetings of East Asia leaders and visited Singapore. China鈥檚 party leaders and state leaders visited 12 Asian neighbor countries. The heads of states or heads of governments of 18 Asian neighbor countries visited China or attended important events such as multilateral and bilateral meetings, exhibitions and forums held in China.

The Asian neighbor countries have actively participated in the first China International Import Expo. In 2018, the first China International Import Expo was successfully held, and 22 Asian neighbor countries sent government delegations to attend the expo. More than 80 guests at or above the vice-ministerial level attended the expo, and 14 countries participated in the national exhibition, including 3 guest countries of honor; 1246 enterprises from 23 countries participated in the expo, with a total exhibition area of 36,400 square meters and the number of enterprises ranking the first in all regions. Among them, the number of exhibitors from Japan and South Korea ranked the first and the second respectively in the world, and their exhibition areas ranked the first and the fourth respectively in the world.

Economic and trade consultations have pragmatically promoted the mutually beneficial bilateral economic and trade cooperation. In 2018, the second meeting of the Joint Coordinating Council of the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity, the Fourth China-Japan High-level Economic Dialogue, and the Sixth Meeting of China-Thailand Economic and Trade Joint Commission were successfully held. The Ministry of Commerce has jointly held mechanism meetings such as bilateral economic and trade joint committees with neighbor countries including India, Mongolia, South Korea, Laos and Cambodia and made new progress in economic and trade cooperation with neighbor countries through friendly consultations.

Equal attention was paid to 鈥渂ringing in鈥and 鈥済oing global鈥and the 鈥淏elt and Road鈥international cooperation, innovation and development with Asian neighbor countries were conducted. China and Singapore completed the negotiations on upgrading bilateral free trade agreement and signed the Upgrading Protocol, deepened the China-Singapore connectivity projects and its "New Land-Sea Corridor" construction, and pushed the upgrading of the China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City Project to become a national level bilateral cooperation project. Under the framework of China-Japan High-level Economic Dialogue, China established a China-Japan third-party market cooperation mechanism and held the first China-Japan Third-Party Market Cooperation Forum to promote cooperation between China and Japan in third-party markets. China signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation with Thailand and participated in Thailand 鈥淓astern Economic Corridor鈥construction. China worked with South Korea to promote China-South Korea industrial park cooperation, supported the matchmaking of China-South Korea development strategies and the research and discussion on the 1.5 track of 鈥淏elt and Road鈥cooperation to promote the cooperation between China and South Korea in third-party markets.

Regional and sub-regional economic and trade cooperation has made new breakthroughs. Negotiations on the rules of origin for specific products in China-ASEAN Free Trade Zone Upgrading Protocol were successfully completed, which will further enhance the level of trade liberalization and facilitation between the two sides. The China-ASEAN eastern growth zones cooperation was officially upgraded and the first ministerial meeting was held, which is a milestone for the future development of the growth zones and deepening the pragmatic cooperation between ASEAN and China. Six member countries of the Lancang-Mekong cooperation successfully held the second meeting of the joint working group on cross-border economic cooperation in Kunming, launched the compiling of The Five-Year Plan for Lancang-Mekong National Economic and Trade Cooperation, and jointly implemented the economic and trade achievements of the second leaders鈥meeting. The first China-South Asia Cooperation Forum was held to build a new platform for economic and trade cooperation between China and South Asia. The pan-yellow sea economic and technological cooperation among China, Japan and South Korea was more pragmatic.

2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and the crucial year for finishing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects. The Ministry of Commerce will comprehensively implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress, deeply study the spirit of the important speeches delivered by General Secretary Xi Jinping at the opening ceremony of the first China International Import Expo and the celebration of the 40th anniversary of reform and opening up, earnestly implement the various arrangements of the Central Economic Work Conference and the National Commercial Work Conference, closely focus on the "one goal, six major tasks and eight major action plans" of commercial work and actively promote the economic and trade cooperation between China and Asian neighbor countries in the new era to a new level.

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