1. ASEAN Economic Ministers from the ten ASEAN Member States and the Minister of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China met on 26 August 2010 for the 9th AEM-MOFCOM consultation.
2. The Ministers noted that, according to ASEAN statistics, after a sharp rise in total trade from 2007 to 2008, ASEAN trade with China declined by 9.5 percent in 2009, i.e. from USD 196.9 billion in 2008 to USD 178.2 billion in 2009. Despite this decline, China has emerged to be ASEAN’s largest trading partner accounting for 11.6 percent of ASEAN’s total trade. According to Chinese statistics, China trade with ASEAN declined slightly by 7.8 percent in 2009, i.e. from USD 231.1 billion in 2008 to USD 213 billion in 2009, ASEAN has risen to be China’s 4th largest trading partner accounting for 9.7 percent of China’s total trade.
3. The Ministers noted that the crisis had affected foreign direct investment flows from China to ASEAN with a decline of 28.4 percent from USD 2.1 billion in 2008 to USD 1.5 billion in 2009. According to Chinese statistics, foreign direct investment flows from China to ASEAN with a slight decline of 7.6 percent from USD 2.5 billion in 2008 to USD 2.3 billion in 2009. The Ministers also noted that ASEAN remained a comparably attractive foreign investment destination for Chinese investors considering that global investment flows dropped by more than 37 percent last year.
4. The Ministers welcomed the realisation of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) on 1 January 2010 as tariffs on almost 97 percent of products classified by ASEAN-6 (Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand) and China in the Normal Track have been eliminated. More than 89% of all tariff lines of ASEAN-6 and China could now be traded duty-free. The rest of the Parties to the ACFTA are also implementing their tariff commitments in accordance with the timelines provided for in the ASEAN-China Trade in Goods Agreement. The Meeting noted the outcome of the Forum on China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, which was held in Nanning City, Guangxi, China on 7-8 January 2010 to celebrate the realisation of the ACFTA.
5. The Ministers were pleased with the entry into force of the ASEAN-China Investment Agreement on 1 January 2010.
6. The Ministers also welcomed the outcome of the review of the ASEAN-China Trade in Goods Agreement, which included the study ASEAN-China Free Trade Area Agreement: an Evaluation of its Trade Impact and the successful conduct of the Peer Review Mechanism for Brunei Darussalam, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.
7. The Ministers agreed to enhance the ASEAN-China Trade in Goods Agreement and improve its implementation. The Ministers also endorsed the ACFTA Product Specific Rules, which have been transposed to HS 2007 for administrative incorporation into the ASEAN-China Trade in Goods Agreement. The Ministers emphasised the importance of early implementation of the revised Operational Certification Procedures and looked forward to the signing of the Second Protocol to Amend the Agreement on Trade in Goods of the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation between ASEAN and China as soon as possible.
8. The Ministers welcomed the conclusion of negotiations on final offers for the second package of specific services commitments, which is part of built-in agenda in the ASEAN-China Trade in Services Agreement and expected the signing of the Protocol to Amend the Agreement on Trade in Services at the 13th ASEAN-China Summit in October 2010.
9. The Ministers welcomed the ASEAN-China FTA Business Portal (BIZ Portal), which was launched on the occasion of the Forum on the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area. Noting the aim to the Business Portal to serve as platform for making available essential information to the business sector on the ACFTA, the Ministers urged relevant officials to ensure that the information is made available in the Business Portal and kept up-to-date and relevant.
10. The Ministers noted the implementation of economic cooperation projects and activities under the ACFTA framework, which included the successful Forum on SME Develoment in the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area held at the Yunnan Province on 6-7 June 2010. In the light of the limited resources allocated for economic cooperation, the Ministers urged relevant officials to prioritise projects and activities that support trade facilitation and the development of small- and medium-enterprises to ensure that they also enjoy the benefits from the ACFTA.
11. The Ministers welcomed the proposal of China to organise a Seminar on Cross-border RMB Trade Settlement to Promote the ASEAN-China Economic and Trade Cooperation, which aims to bring together senior government officials and professionals from ASEAN Member States to discuss and exchange views on how economic and trade cooperation between ASEAN and China can be expanded and promoted through cross-border RMB trade settlement. The Seminar will take place in Beijing, Shenzhen City and the Yunnan Province in November 2010.
12. The Ministers congratulated China on successful launch of the Shanghai World Expo, which continues to attract visitors from all over the world. The Ministers looked forward to the 2010 China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS), to be held in Nanning, Guang Xi Zhuang Autonomous Region in China. The Meeting noted that while this would be the seventh CAEXPO, it would be the first to be organised after the realisation of the ACFTA.
13. The Ministers welcomed the positive progress of the feasibility study work on Pan-Beibu Gulf Economic Cooperation made by the Joint Expert Group and urged the feasibility study be concluded as soon as possible.
LIST OF MINISTERS
1. Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Darussalam
2. H.E. Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce, Cambodia
3. H.E. Chen Deming, Minister of Commerce, China
4. H.E. Mari Elka Pangestu, Minister of Trade, Indonesia
5. H.E. Nam Viyaketh, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Lao PDR
6. H.E. Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia
7. H.E. U Soe Tha, Minister for National Planning and Economic Development, Myanmar
8. H.E. Gregory L. Domingo, Secretary of Trade and Industry, the Philippines
9. H.E. Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore
10. H.E. Porntiva Nakasai, Minister of Commerce, Thailand
11. H.E. Vu Huy Hoang, Minister of Industry and Trade, Viet Nam
12. H.E. Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN