China-ASEAN trade increasing at breakneck pace
Trade between China and the Association of South-East Asian Nations reached 202.5 billion US dollars last year, beating a 200-billion-US-dollar target three years ahead of schedule, a report said on Monday.
The pace of growth is increasing, according to the latest figures in the China-ASEAN Business Council (CABC) quarterly report.
Trade reached 54.4 billion US dollars in the first quarter of this year, up 26.2 per cent from the corresponding three months of 2007, dpa reported.
China imported 28.8 billion US dollars worth of goods from ASEAN in the first quarter. Its exports to the region accounted to 25.61 billion-US dollars, leaving China with a trade deficit of 3.19 billion US dollars, according to the data.
Among the issues to be ironed out are the varying levels of economic development among ASEAN countries, said Xu Ningning, deputy secretary-general of the CABC's secretariat in China.
Other investment barriers include differing labour laws and policies.
An agreement on a China-ASEAN free trade zone is on track to be completed by 2010, Xu said, uniting China's 1.3 billion people and ASEAN's 500 million people in a single market.
All products will enjoy zero tariffs under the pact
ASEAN includes Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.