Joint Press Statement
1. The First Consultation between the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) and the Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC) of People’s Republic of China was held in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam on 13 September 2002. The Consultation was co-chaired by H.E. Pehin Dato Abdul Rahman Taib, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources of Brunei Darussalam; and. H.E. Mr. Shi Guangsheng, Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation of People’s Republic of China.
ASEAN-China Trade and Investment Relations
2. The Ministers had a productive exchange of views on current ASEAN and China economic ties and underscored the importance of ASEAN and China economic relationship towards regional peace and prosperity.
3. The ASEAN Ministers congratulated their Chinese counterpart over the successful accession of China to the World Trade Organisation. The Ministers shared the view that the WTO accession would build on the momentum of rapidly growing ties between the two sides.
Framework Agreement on ASEAN–China Comprehensive Economic Co-operation
4. The Ministers commended the Trade Negotiating Committee for the excellent work and noted that only a few issues remained to be resolved. Confident that these issues would be resolved, including the Early Harvest Package, the Ministers considered the draft Framework Agreement on ASEAN–China Comprehensive Economic Co-operation for its signing at the ASEAN-China Summit in November 2002 in Cambodia. Negotiations in all other areas identified in the Framework Agreement will begin in 2003.
5. The Framework Agreement incorporates all the elements contained in the decision of Leaders:
(a) ASEAN China Free Trade Area (ACFTA), which will cover trade in goods, services and investments and includes the principles of special and differential treatment and flexibility for the ASEAN members states, especially the new members;
(b) Specific measures to facilitate trade and investment and enhance economic cooperation;
(c) An Early Harvest Package, including specific economic cooperation activities which shall be undertaken or implemented on an accelerated basis, and exploring the feasibility of an Early Harvest Programme for trade in services;
(d) Negotiation of specific agreements for the liberalization of trade in goods, services and investment, which will commence in 2003.
6. The Ministers welcomed the progress in developing the Early Harvest Package to be implemented no later than 1 January 2004. The package is an integral part of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area and would provide the incentives to accelerate the establishment of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area.
7. The Ministers agreed that the Early Harvest Package would be implemented over a period of three years. A longer timeframe will be accorded to the newer ASEAN member countries, namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Viet Nam.
LIST OF MINISTERS
The Meeting was attended by:
H.E. Pehin Dato Abdul Rahman Taib, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, Brunei Darussalam;
H.E. Mr. Cham Prasidh, Minister of Commerce, Cambodia;
H.E. Mr. Shi Guangsheng, Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC), People’s Republic of China;
H.E. Mr. Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti, Coordinating Minister for Economy, Indonesia;
H.E. Mr. Soulivong Daravong, Minister of Industry and Handicrafts, Lao PDR;
H.E. Dato’ Seri Rafidah Aziz, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia;
H.E. Brigadier General David O. Abel, Minister at the Office of the Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council, Myanmar;
H.E. Mr. Manuel A. Roxas II, Secretary of Trade and Industry, the Philippines;
H.E. B.G. (NS) George Yeo, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore;
H.E. Mr. Adisai Bodharamik, Minister of Commerce, Thailand;
H.E. Mr. Luong Van Tu, Vice Minister of Trade, Viet Nam; and
H.E. Mr. Rodolfo C. Severino, Jr., Secretary-General of ASEAN.