|Li Keqiang foresees US$1 trillion trade with ASEAN
China's trade with Southeast Asia could more than double to US$1 trillion by 2020, Premier Li Keqiang told regional leaders, downplaying simmering territorial disputes and stressing their “common destiny,’’ state media reported.
Li called for an upgraded version of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area deal and insisted that “disruptive factors'' should not get in the way of regional cooperation, Xinhua reported today. Launched in 2010, the CAFTA has become the world's largest free trade area among developing countries, covering a total population of 1.9 billion.
Trade has grown six-fold over the past decade to US$400 billion in 2012 between China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN), it said.
Li downplayed marine disputes while addressing the 10th China-ASEAN Expo and business and investment summit in southern Nanning, reiterating Chinese calls for dialogue.
“We have also noticed that there exist some disruptive factors in the region that are against stability and development, but they are not mainstream,'' he said according to a transcript of his speech by Xinhua.
“The Chinese side maintains that the South China Sea disputes are not an issue between China and the ASEAN, and they should not and will not affect the overall China-ASEAN cooperation.''
“China's new government will... more firmly and effectively build a community of common destiny to share peace and prosperity,'' he said, adding that China and ASEAN, which created a “golden decade,’’ in the past, “have the power to create a 'diamond decade’ in the future.’’