China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and Business and Investment Summit not only serve as a major joint cooperation platform, but also help to boost the construction of ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA), according to H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping, Vice President of China at the 9th CAEXPO and the 9th China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS). The Vice President also suggested that ASEAN and China make greater efforts to improve ACFTA construction, deepen bilateral investment and cooperation, push mutual communication and connectivity, and promote social and cultural or people-to-people exchanges.

Opened by the State Leaders, Ministerial officials and business representatives from ASEAN Member States and China, this year’s CAEXPO covered economy, trade and culture. The exchanges focused on creating more business opportunities for enterprises, thus promoting the development of ACFTA and deepening the two-way strategic partnership. Both CAEXPO and CABIS have successfully concluded with the presentation of Awards to exhibitors, and the handover of the Country of Honour from Myanmar to Philippines, which will serve as the Country of Honour of the 10th CAEXPO next year.

The CAEXPO is an annual trade exposition co-organised by governments of China and ASEAN Member States at Nanning City in China. Against the backdrop of the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Cooperation between China and ASEAN and the China-ASEAN Year of Science and Technology Cooperation, the 9th CAEXPO observed a significant increase in economic benefits. A total of 2,280 enterprises with 4,600 booths were set up by both China and foreign enterprises during 21-24 September, with 52,000 exhibitors and visitors. The CAEXPO recorded a total of US$ 1.88 billion in the contract value, which was 3.9% higher than that of last year. Some 118 projects signed during the period were worth US$ 8.02 billion, an increase of 10.6%.

ASEAN’s trade turnover with China has increased eight folds from US$ 3.23 billion in 2000 to US$28.4 billion in 2011. China’s foreign direct investment (FDI) in ASEAN grew nearly ten folds from US$ 0.62 billion in 2005 to US$ 5.91 billion in 2011, despite the global financial crisis in 2008-2009. In 2011, China continued to be ASEAN’s largest trading partner overtaking the EU and Japan since 2009. China has also maintained her position as the second biggest export destination for ASEAN for past two consecutive years.

Next year’s Expo will mark the 10th anniversary of ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership and the 10th anniversary of the convening of CAEXPO. A series of commemorative and celebratory activities will be organised to expand business opportunities and promote friendly cooperation. The 10th CAEXPO will be held from 20 – 24 September 2013 with the theme of “Regional Cooperation and Development: New Opportunities, New Driving Forces, and New Stage”.