ASEAN-China Center to Raise Awareness of Free Trade Area

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Apr. 27 – In order to promote greater awareness of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA), the intergovernmental non-profit organization the “ASEAN-China Center” will be inviting experts in the field of economics and business to give lectures.

In an interview with the China Daily, the center’s Secretary-General Ma Mingqiang raised concerns over the fact that many people, especially people in small business in China and the ASEAN nations, are not aware of the ACFTA and thus do not know how they can benefit from the cooperation agreement. The lectures provided by the Center will focus on informing businesspeople about what ACFTA is and what benefits it could potentially bring to their business.

ASEAN-China Center
The ASEAN-China Center was officially launched on November 18, 2011 at the 14th ASEAN-China Summit in Bali, Indonesia. The Center aims to become a one-stop information bank and activities center to promote ASEAN-China cooperation in trade, investment, tourism, education and culture. The Center is headquartered in Beijing, but it will gradually develop branches in other areas in China and set up offices in ASEAN member states.

Address: No. 43 Liangmaqiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China, 100600
Tel: 86-10-65321660 ext 655
Fax: 86-10-85322527
Website: http://www.asean-china-centre.org
Micro Blog: weibo.com/aseanchinacentre
Email: iprd@asean-china-centre.org
Opening hours: 09:30 to 17:00, Monday to Friday (Closed on Public Holidays)

According to the organization’s website, the Center’s objectives are:

  1. To support the implementation of the Framework Agreement; and various agreements in the trade in goods, services, dispute settlement, investment and other agreements relating to economic cooperation signed under the umbrella of the Framework Agreement;
  2. To enhance two-way trade between ASEAN and China and further cultivate trade partnership in order to jointly promote exports to outside markets and achieve market expansion;
  3. To promote two-way flows of investment between ASEAN and China;
  4. To undertake activities to help investors and businessmen from less developed ASEAN member states, especially Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, in exploring trade and investment opportunities in China;
  5. To promote flows of tourists between ASEAN and China;
  6. To enhance interaction among the business communities of ASEAN and China;
  7. To increase people-to-people contacts, public awareness, mutual understanding, as well as active participation among the ASEAN and Chinese peoples through cultural and educational exchanges; and
  8. To synergize the potentials of ASEAN and China in order to enhance the region’s appeal to external partners and facilitate access to ASEAN and Chinese ventures.

The ASEAN-China Free Trade Area
The initial Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation between ASEAN and China was signed by both parties on November 4, 2002 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia with the hopes of establishing a free trade area among the 11 nations by 2010.

Under the Agreement on Trade in Goods which came into effect on January 1, 2005, the six original ASEAN members (Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand) and China agreed to eliminate tariffs on 90 percent of their products by 2010, while the four newer members (Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam) agreed to do so by 2015.

Under the Trade in Service Agreement which came into force in July 2007, services and service suppliers/providers in the region shall enjoy improved market access and national treatment in sectors and sub-sectors where commitments have been made.

The ACFTA officially came into effect on January 1, 2010. Under the agreement, tariffs between China and the original six ASEAN members have been eliminated for roughly 7,880 product categories, which account for 90 percent of the imported goods. The average tariff rate on Chinese goods sold in ASEAN countries is reduced to 0.6 percent from the 12.8 percent, and the average tariff rate on ASEAN goods sold in China decreased to only 0.1 percent from 9.8 percent.

The ACFTA is the largest free trade area in terms of population and the third largest in terms of nominal GDP.

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