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Monday, September 13, 2021
2021 China-ASEAN Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum
ANBOUND

ANBOUND Regional Chief Representative (ASEAN) Dato' Ong Chong Yi was invited as a keynote speaker at the "2021 China-ASEAN Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum" which commemorates China-ASEAN's 30 years of dialogue relations. The forum was officiated by the Chairman of Guangxi government H.E. Lan Tianli and China's Vice Minister of Commerce H.E. Ren Hongbin, and was held on the sidelines of the 18th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning on 11 September 2021. Other VIPs that attended this forum include Trade Ministers and Ambassadors from the ten ASEAN countries and the Secretary General of the ASEAN Secretariat.

Dato' Ong summed up the characteristics after China and ASEAN signed an upgraded free trade agreement in 2015, the bilateral investment and technical cooperation have also been greatly improved. We understand that the China-ASEAN Information Port has 103 key projects in total investment construction, including the Asia-Pacific Gateway Submarine Optical Cable System and the China-Myanmar International Cross-border Optical Cable Transmission System, laying a solid foundation for China and ASEAN's future digital economic cooperation. ASEAN is the fastest growing Internet market in the world. Furthermore, Malaysia has also formulated a digital economy blueprint (MyDigital Blueprint) earlier this year. At the recently held online forum on Digital City Development in the Post-COVID Era, His Excellency Dato' Sri Mustapa Mohamed, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Economy) of Malaysia, also emphasized that it is necessary to learn from China's successful experience in digitalization to accelerate the construction of smart cities in Malaysia. The key to the success or failure of a smart city lies in understanding the needs of the service population and the coverage of smart technologies. Sufficient funds and technologies must be available to achieve the best results. There are many successful cases in China, including Shenzhen's new smart city and Shanghai's Pudong Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, which are all successful examples worthy of learning from ASEAN countries. Cooperation in the construction of smart cities can not only drive high value-added communication infrastructure investment and service trade, but also strengthen bilateral cooperation in high-end technology fields including the Internet of Things, cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence, 5G, blockchain and virtual reality. Cooperation to realize the upgrading of investment and industrial structure between China and ASEAN. In addition to Malaysia, other ASEAN member states such as Singapore and Cambodia also issued their own digital economy plans in 2014 and 2021, and China can engage deeper communications with ASEAN in these aspects.

In terms of trade, the main commodities traded by China and ASEAN in the past 20 years include steel products, plastic products, machinery and equipment, electronic and electrical products, and mineral oil. It is hoped that the bilateral trade structure can be optimized through high-end investment projects including smart cities and information industries, transforming the bilateral trade from traditionally commodity trade to higher-tech, high-quality, and high-quality value-added products, thereby driving the rapid growth of ASEAN-China trade. In addition, while implementing free trade agreements, there is the need to reduce non-tariff barriers and strengthen cooperation including mutual recognition of import and export standards for agricultural products and medical products, so as to truly realize the free flow of goods within the region. It is also necessary for the two sides to conduct in-depth cooperation on intellectual property rights to provide a favorable environment for the development of regional entrepreneurship and innovation.

Facing the complex international geopolitical situation and the trend of anti-globalization, the steady development of China and ASEAN is very necessary for the process of Asian economic integration. The two sides should eliminate both tariff barriers and non-tariff barriers more comprehensively, and strengthen communication in accordance with the development planning needs of each member country, deepen and expand mutual economic and trade cooperation, so as to ensure that ASEAN and China continue to regain their core positions in the Asian economy.

Please click here to watch the video conference:https://youtu.be/inOv8H42r_I

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