China’s Asian Import-Export Figures Indicative of Growing Ties

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Dec. 6 – Year-on-year import and export figures released by the Chinese government indicate growing ties with ASEAN and increases in bilateral trade with nearly all countries in Asia with the exception of Japan and India. Evidence of increasing consumerism in China came from export figures from Australia, the Philippines and Vietnam, all of whom showed healthy increases of exports to China. Imports from China rose significantly in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, showing that Chinese companies are increasing their spread into Southeast Asia and are taking advantage of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement.


“We believe that the vast majority of Chinese outbound investment is going into Asia, and these figures back that up,” says Chris Devonshire-Ellis of Dezan Shira & Associates. “Both Chinese and ASEAN-based companies are realizing the benefits of China’s Free Trade Agreement with ASEAN and we expect this trend to continue and develop fast over the coming years. The emerging global consumer market is an Asian play and is not just restricted to China.”

Both Thailand and Malaysia have recently announced they expect bilateral trade with China to top US$100 billion in the next three years, while the Chinese government has been actively pursuing a course of trade development with ASEAN, recently announcing the creation of a cross-border financial zone in Yunnan and Guangxi that is specifically targeted at ASEAN trade. Both Yunnan and Guangxi border Vietnam. The zone aims to expand the cross-border use of RMB to enhance its influence with ASEAN members and South Asian countries, and to explore the RMB’s convertibility under the capital account.

“China’s trade with ASEAN countries is going to be the big driver over the next ten years,” says Devonshire-Ellis. “Foreign investors should be looking at adding manufacturing capacity in countries such as Vietnam to take advantage of the increasing growth in China’s domestic consumer market as well as other markets throughout Asia. We are seeing increasing interest in Vietnam and our offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are becoming very busy as a result of foreign investors preparing for the ASEAN boom.”

ASEAN includes Vietnam, as well as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand. China’s Free Trade Agreement with ASEAN covers more than 7,000 products and reduces import-export tariffs significantly, and in many cases to zero.

Dezan Shira & Associates is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in emerging Asia.

For further details or to contact the firm, please email, visit, or download the company brochure.

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