In the first half of 2020, the bilateral trade volume between China and ASEAN reached RMB 2.09 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 5.6%. ASEAN continued to be China’s largest trading partner. Under the background of the COVID-19 and a sluggish global economic growth, the gratifying achievement not only reflects the great resilience of China-ASEAN economic and trade cooperation, but also gives higher demands and expectations for the CAEXPO, an important platform for economic and trade cooperation.
At the 17th China-ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting held on July 9, 2020, Wang Lei, Secretary-General of the CAEXPO Secretariat, said that the 17th CAEXPO would take the 10th anniversary of the establishment of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) and the Year of China-ASEAN Digital Economy Cooperation as an opportunity to advance China-ASEAN friendly cooperation in the joint fight against the epidemic, promote China-ASEAN economic and trade cooperation to achieve new results under the impact of the epidemic, and push China-ASEAN cooperation to make new achievements in various fields after the epidemic.
A special event to be held in a special year
Since its launch, the CAEXPO has been closely linked to the CAFTA, Through continuously innovating and advancing, it serves the upgrading and development of the CAFTA. 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of CAFTA and the Year of China-ASEAN Digital Economy Cooperation. It is also the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Myanmar, the 45th anniversary between China and Thailand, as well as China and the Philippines. Therefore, a series of commemorative activities will be held in the 17th CAEXPO, a special node, to promote the upgrading of China-ASEAN cooperation.
“Encountered with this rare opportunity, commemorative activities in political diplomacy, economic and trade promotion, social and cultural exchanges will be held during the 17th CAEXPO. A higher level of China-ASEAN cooperation will be expected,” said Wang Lei.
It is reported that the CAEXPO will hold a series of activities to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the CAFTA and bilateral relations, including holding a special forum on the 10th anniversary of the CAFTA to showcase the achievements of the CAFTA and look ahead the cooperation trend and prospect; designing relevant commemorative activities at the opening ceremony of the CAFTA; highlighting elements of the 10th anniversary in the exhibition hall. In addition, considering the commemoration of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Myanmar, China and the Philippines, as well as China and Thailand, forums on friendly exchanges and cooperation between China and Myanmar, on economic and trade cooperation between China and the Philippines, and on economic and trade cooperation between China and Thailand will be held respectively.
At the same time, activities on the Year of China-ASEAN Digital Economy Cooperation will be held to carry out multi-level dialogues and practical cooperation in digital economy, so as to promote the quality and upgrading of bilateral economic and trade cooperation.
“Through holding these important activities and forums, we will further consolidate and deepen the cooperation between China and ASEAN, and will have an opportunity to discuss how to make full use of the CAEXPO, letting it better serve the bilateral cooperation after the epidemic,” said Wang Lei.
Health cooperation forum is the highlight
Since 2020, the COVID-19 has posed severe challenges to the health of people and social and economic development of all countries. Under the epidemic, it is necessary for countries to strengthen exchanges and cooperation, improve regional public health governance, and ensure the health and safety of people around the world.
As an important public platform for China-ASEAN regional cooperation, the CAEXPO not only shoulders the mission of deepening economic and trade cooperation between China and ASEAN, but also serves as a platform for China-ASEAN cooperation in politics, culture, health and other fields. In particular, the China-ASEAN Health Cooperation Forum under the framework of the CAEXPO has promoted the implementation of many projects since its launch in 2016, and has become an important platform for exchanges and cooperation between China and ASEAN in health.
In order to implement Joint Statements of the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and facilitate the dialogue and discussion on epidemic prevention, control, treatment and study, the 17th CAEXPO will hold the third China-ASEAN Health Cooperation Forum and sub forum to promote the establishment of regional international cooperation mechanism for epidemic prevention and control, thus to yield fruitful results.
“The Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) confirmed adding health and epidemic prevention in the Health Cooperation Forum, fully reflecting the influence of the CAEXPO on China-ASEAN public affairs. Implementing Joint Statements of the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) will be an important task of the 17th CAEXPO,” said Wang Lei.
More surprises are worth looking forward to
Over the past 17 years, the CAEXPO has always maintained its vitality and attractiveness by adhering to the value of “cooperation, win-win results and constant innovation”, bringing different surprises to audiences every year. It is reported that the preparatory work for the 17th CAEXPO is progressing smoothly: Chinese and foreign businessmen have actively signed up for the CAEXPO and seven ASEAN countries have decided to book an entire hall. In addition to holding a series of commemorative activities, a more abundant and higher standard CAEXPO will be presented.
Innovating and enriching theme country activities. Laos is the theme country of this CAEXPO. At that time, lots of activities will be held, such as the opening speech of National leader of Laos, the round table dialogue between National leader of Laos and CEOs of Chinese enterprises, the opening ceremony of “City of Charm”, the investment exposition, the promotion meeting, the CAEXPO Laos Exhibition, and face-to-face talks between Chinese entrepreneurs and Lao entrepreneurs, etc. Besides, luncheon between National leader of Laos and Chinese entrepreneurs is planned to be held in an innovative way.
Champasak, the “City of Charm” of Laos, in the 16th China ASEAN Expo
Optimizing the arrangements for exhibitions and economic and trade activities. The total planned exhibition area of the CAEXPO is 134,000 square meters. We will continue to adopt the mode of “one Expo, three halls”, retain the original five major themes, and further optimize the exhibition. For example, highlighting professionalism and ASEAN characteristics under the theme of commodity trade, with the establishment of the first cross-border E-commerce zone and RCEP exhibition area, emphasizing cooperation in key areas under the theme of investment cooperation, with the presence of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area cooperation exhibition area, stressing financial, tourism an personnel services which are highly complementary in the service and trade between China and ASEAN under the theme of service and trade, and further expanding city exchanges under the theme of “City of Charm”.
Expanding the circle of invited partners. Pakistan has officially confirmed to be the Special Partner Country of the CAEXPO. At that time, the CAEXPO will hold many activities for specially invited partners to continuously deepen the cooperation between China and ASEAN and the economies outside the region.
Making great efforts to organize CAEXPO professional exhibitions and ASEAN countries’ tour exhibitions. Besides the major task, the brand characteristics and quality of professional exhibitions such as forest and tourism exhibitions, and world rice noodles conference will be improved, and financial exhibition, sugar Expo, and agricultural machinery Expo (sugarcane mechanization Expo) will be added. In the middle and late December, the CAEXPO Laos Exhibition 2020 will be held in Vientiane, Laos, and the CAEXPO Myanmar Exhibition in Yangon, Myanmar.
Strengthening the management of exhibition and improving the service level. We should perform well in epidemic prevention and control during the CAEXPO, make full use of information technology to improve the exhibition management and service capabilities, strengthen the R&D of mobile applications such as WeChat applet, and provide services like registration, booth booking, trade matching, project matching, and admission flow reminder in mobile phones for merchants.
“Through these positive measures, it is believed that as an international comprehensive exhibition jointly organized by China and ASEAN, the CAEXPO will greatly boost the confidence of China, ASEAN and even the cooperation outside the region, and play a unique role in helping social and economic recovery,” said Wang Lei confidently.
Source: China-ASEAN Panorama