(ECNS) -- China and ASEAN countries have continuously enhanced good-neighborly relations and improved the economic and trade cooperation, with both sides becoming each other’s largest trading partner in the past three years, said Xu Ningning, executive president of the China-ASEAN Business Council and chairman of the RCEP Industry Cooperation Committee.
Latest data shows that in the first two months of 2023, the trade volume between China and ASEAN countries rose by 9.6 percent year on year.
According to Xu, the non-financial direct investment in countries along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) from Chinese enterprises reached 17.06 billion yuan (about 2.49 billion U.S. dollars) in January, up 42.7 percent year-on-year, accounting for 22.5 percent of the total in the same period, and 2 percentage points higher than the same period last year.
Three ASEAN members, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, are top three countries which have attracted the most non-financial direct investment from China, said Xu.
He made an analysis of economic and trade cooperation between China and Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia respectively.
“China-Singapore relations have a solid foundation. They have cooperated in extensive areas and bilateral friendly cooperation continuously reaches new levels,” said Xu.
China is the largest trading partner of goods, export market, and source of imports of Singapore as well as the third largest trading country of services, he said.
He noted that China has been the largest trading partner of Singapore for nine consecutive years since the BRI was proposed in 2013. In 2022, the trade volume between China and Singapore reached $115.13 billion, up 22.8 percent year-on-year, and Singapore attracted the most non-financial direct investment from China among the countries along the BRI in the same year.
In 2022, the trade volume between China and Indonesia reached $149.09 billion, up 19.8 percent year-on-year, and China has been the largest trading partner of Indonesia for 10 consecutive years, said Xu.
The direct investment of Chinese enterprises in Indonesia reached $8.23 billion in 2022, up 160 percent year-on-year, reaching a record high, and China became the second largest source of foreign investment, Xu said, citing data from the Ministry of Investment of Indonesia.
As for China-Malaysia relations, Xu said China and Malaysia, who are traditional friendly neighbors, have maintained a good momentum in developing bilateral relations.
He stressed that both sides have been consolidating political mutual trust and deepening mutual beneficial cooperation in recent years. Last year, bilateral trade volume accounted for 21 percent of the total between China and ASEAN countries, the second largest among China-ASEAN trade volumes.
China and ASEAN members continuously improve the economic and trade cooperation, which has consolidated the bilateral relations and contributed to the economic growth of regional countries, regional economic integration and even global economic growth, said Xu.