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July 20, 2016

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Boom in China-ASEAN trade weakens

TRADE between China and the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations has boomed during the past 25 years, but it has declined this year because of the lackluster global economy, a senior official said yesterday.

China-ASEAN trade rose to US$472.16 billion in 2015 from US$7.96 billion in 1991, growing 18.5 percent annually, Vice Commerce Minister Gao Yan said at a news conference.

During the January-May period, however, bilateral trade fell 7.1 percent year on year to US$173.57 billion.

The two sides are trying their best to “get bilateral-trade growth back on track as soon as possible,” Gao said.

China is ASEAN’s biggest trading partner, while ASEAN is China’s third-biggest.

By the end of May, two-way investment had exceeded US$160 billion, with ASEAN remaining a major destination for Chinese companies.

When asked whether trade ties between China and the Philippines will be affected following the South China Sea arbitration award, Gao said the two countries enjoy “relatively stable” economic and trade relations, while dismissing claims that the Chinese have boycotted foreign products, especially those made in the Philippines.


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