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ASEAN-China FTA Investment Agreement Signed

Source:Mofcom       Updated:August 19 13:06

As the international financial crisis keeps spreading, trade and investment protectionism is apparently gaining ground. Coping with crisis, going in the direction of free trade, promoting trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, all are major issues for governments of all countries.

On August 15, the Eighth China-ASEAN Economic and Trade Ministers’ Meeting (CAEM) was held in Bangkok, Thailand. Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming and the Economic Ministers of the 10 ASEAN member states together signed ASEAN-China FTA Investment Agreement. The signing of the agreement sent out a clear signal that China and ASEAN would like to join efforts to cope with the financial crisis, continue to promote trade and investment liberalization and oppose trade and investment protectionism, so as to make greater contribution to the recovery and development of the economy in East Asia and in the globe. 

The Investment Agreement has 27 provisions. It provides a free, transparent and just investment mechanism for investors from both sides, gives them national treatment, most-favored-nation treatment, and fair and equitable treatment on investment, so as to promote investment facilitation and liberalization.

Over recent years, as ASEAN-China FTA develops fast, the mutual investment between China and ASEAN keeps expanding. By the end of 2008, ASEAN’s actual investment in China was valued at $52 billion, accounting for 6.08% of China’s overall foreign investment. Meanwhile, as China implements “going global” Strategy, China’s investment in ASEAN has increased significantly. China’s direct investment in ASEAN in 2008 reached $2.18 billion, increased by 125% compared with that of last year. More and more Chinese enterprises have chosen ASEAN as major investment countries. As the signing and implementation of the Investment Agreement, the mutual investment and trade ties between China and ASEAN will enter a new phase of development.   

China-ASEAN Free Trade Area is the first of its kind that China has negotiated with foreign countries. For ASEAN, it is also the first of its kind that it has negotiated with foreign countries. In 2002, China and ASEAN initiated the negotiation of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area; in 2003, Early Harvest Plan was officially implemented; in 2004, Agreement on Trade in Goods was signed; and in 2007, Agreement on Trade in Services was signed. The signing of the Investment Agreement indicates that China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA) negotiation has been completed, and it can be set up by 2010. 

Editor: Anne Tang