July 23, 2013 (TSR-Xinhua) – Bilateral trade between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will reach 500 billion U.S. dollars in 2015, Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Gao Yan forecast at a press conference on Tuesday.
According to the Ministry of Commerce (MOC), China-ASEAN bilateral trade has surged in the past decade, from 54.77 billion U.S. dollars in 2002 to 400.1 billion dollars in 2012, with an average annual growth rate of 22 percent.
The first half of 2013 saw a year-on-year growth of 12.2 percent in China-ASEAN trade that totaled 210.56 billion U.S. dollars, the MOC said.
As ASEAN’s biggest trade partner, China kept a trade surplus of 8.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2012 in its trade with the 10-nation group and pledged to increase imports from ASEAN.
By the end of June, Chinese direct investment in ASEAN countries totaled nearly 30 billion U.S. dollars, and direct investment from the ASEAN toward China exceeded 80 billion U.S. dollars, according to the MOC.
Gao said China will further join hands with the ASEAN to carry out the free trade agreement as the China-ASEAN free trade area was established on Jan. 1, 2010.
The 10th China-ASEAN Expo will be held Sept. 3-6 in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, including a celebration of the 10th anniversary of China-ASEAN partnership.