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Focus on Asean-China ties

Commerce Minister Niwatthumrong Boonsong-paisan,

Commerce Minister Niwatthumrong Boonsong-paisan,

ASEAN will strengthen cooperation among the public and private sectors with China under their free-trade agreement as the grouping sees Beijing as potentially leading the world economy in the not-too-distant future.

Asean plans to tighten cooperation with economic powerhouses by sending a roadshow to each country.

For the upcoming meeting, the Asean Economic Ministers will travel to China and Hong Kong.

Thailand will also join this roadshow to encourage Chinese businesses to trade and invest more here and the region under the Asean Economic Community, Commerce Minister Niwatthumrong Boonsong-paisan, who will lead the Thai delegation, said last week.

The six-day trip is scheduled to hit Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Hong Kong from today to Saturday, with trade ministers from all 10 Asean member states taking part.

The roadshow is part of Asean's aim to forge closer economic bonds with countries outside the bloc.

The roadshows have already gone to Japan and the United States. The mission is a good opportunity to celebrate a decade of Sino-Asean relations. Thailand, as a coordinator of the Asean-China FTA, will also encourage both sides to discuss a plan to include Hong Kong in the agreement.

Asean and China will discuss promoting closer cooperation and modernising the Asean-China FTA to ensure all issues are up to date and can help foster the development of both sides.

China could become the world's leading economic |nation this year. It now ranks |second.

With its fast and strong expansion and many financial institutions operating worldwide, China will be on top |soon.

China's strengths that have caught the eye of many countries are its political stability, huge domestic market and plentiful workers, as well as technology development, he said.

According to the Trade Negotiations Department, China is Thailand's second-largest trading partner after Asean. It is the largest export market and the second-largest import market for Thailand. Last year, two-way trade rose 16.6 per cent to touch US$47.16 billion.


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