China-ASEAN Monitor: China-ASEAN trade grows 7.7% in Q3 2020 despite COVID-19 pandemic
TRADE, ECONOMY, AND INVESTMENT
China-ASEAN trade grows 7.7% in Q3 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic
(3 November 2020) China-ASEAN trade in the first nine months of 2020 reached US$481.8 billion, accounting for one seventh of China’s foreign trade, while bilateral trade grew 7.7% in the third quarter of 2020, said Chinese Ambassador to ASEAN Deng Xijun at a virtual forum organised by the Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia (FPCI) on 3 November. Quarterly growth in the second and third quarter of 2020 was 5.6% and 7.7% respectively, he added. ASEAN became China’s biggest trading partner in the first half of 2020, accounting for 14.7% of the nation’s total foreign trade volume, amid upgraded free trade area protocol and supply chain cooperation. Meanwhile, direct investment from China in ASEAN countries in 2020 increased 76.7% to US$10.7 billion. Deng said these figures demonstrate the strong resilience and full potential of China-ASEAN economic relations as well as the two sides close cooperation on projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Chinese FM says country is always ready to help ASEAN fight the pandemic
(9 November 2020) Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China and ASEAN should strengthen their confidence and solidarity to make joint efforts related to regional stability and prosperity. He said that China is willing to continue working with ASEAN countries in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chinese foreign minister met with diplomatic envoys of ASEAN countries in Beijing on 8 November. The two sides should firmly uphold multilateralism and free trade, the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as scheduled, and jointly maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea area, said Wang Yi. Envoys of the 10 ASEAN countries expressed their hope to better align development strategies with China, advance consultations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, and jointly maintain peace and stability in the region.
Survey shows Malaysian firms positive on China market prospects
(5 November 2020) China remains a highly attractive consumer market and global supply chain hub, especially for Malaysian companies, according to a survey released by HSBC on 5 November, which covered 1,100 companies across 11 key markets across the world including Malaysia. Around 75% of companies surveyed, including 70% of US companies, said they expect to increase their supply-chain footprint in China over the next two years. The most bullish are companies from Malaysia, recording the highest percentage of 93% expecting to increase the proportion of their supply chains based in the Chinese mainland in the next two years. China’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 is also fuelling optimism among companies across the world: 75% of those surveyed expect sales in or exports to China to grow in the next two years, with businesses from Malaysia (88%), Mexico (86%), and Singapore (84%) feeling the most bullish.
China and ASEAN officials discuss deepening cooperation on digital economy
(10 November 2020) Participants at the 2020 ASEAN-China Digital Economy Cooperation Conference shared their views on the development status and cooperation prospects of the China-ASEAN digital economy and explored more opportunities for bilateral cooperation. Secretary-general of the ASEAN-China Center Chen Dehai said promoting the ASEAN-China digital economy cooperation will help countries in the region resume economic and social development, create more jobs, improve people’s well-being and inject new momentum to the Belt and Road countries’ development. The conference was held on 9 November in Chengdu and was attended by officials from the Chinese government and ASEAN embassies and consulates in China, representatives from China and ASEAN business associations, experts in the field of the digital economy, and leading enterprises.
Workshop boosts ASEAN-China cooperation in ensuring fair treatment of fishermen
(3 November 2020) An ASEAN-China workshop on promoting cooperation in ensuring the just and humane treatment of fishermen in the East Sea was held by Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 3 November. Participants at the workshop emphasised the need for long-term support for fishermen and many have said it is necessary to adopt an overall approach to ensuring the safety and humane treatment of fishermen, including building a set of tools to address the problem in the East Sea. Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung said in his opening remarks that nearly 200 million people depend on fisheries resources of the East Sea for their livelihood and that fishermen remain vulnerable to danger or distress at sea. The workshop, in both online and offline forms, was attended by around 120 delegates comprising senior officials, researchers, legal experts, and representatives from the embassies of ASEAN member states and China in Vietnam and several international organisations.