China remains Asean’s largest trading partner

|     Azlan Othman     |

CHINA imported goods valued at USD0.2 billion from Brunei Darussalam and exported USD0.6 billion last year, figures from the Asean.Org revealed. Bilateral trade between China and Brunei stood at 0.2 per cent in 2016.

China has been the largest trading partner of ASEAN for nine consecutive years. Last year, trade between the two sides exceeded USD500 billion.

The 15th China-ASEAN Expo opened yesterday in Nanning City, China, highlighting trade and investment among China, ASEAN and other countries along the Belt and Road.

Themed ‘Jointly Building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, Forging the China-ASEAN Community of Innovation,’ the expo will this year feature a host of exhibitions, forums and exchange programmes aimed at strengthening the friendly cooperation between China and ASEAN to a new level.

From Brunei, agricultural, food manufacturing and sauce-making companies as well as International School Brunei (ISB), OUDH Berjaya Trading, BIphar Biotech, Muara port company and DARe (Darussalam Enterprise) are taking part in the event.

Chinese and foreign exhibitors have shown enthusiasm for the four-day event. More than 2,700 firms – including a number of Fortune 500 companies – are showcasing their products at the event, up 2.6 per cent from the previous event.

A concurrent session, the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, is also being held from Wednesday to Saturday.

Innovation is a highlight at the expo this year. China and ASEAN member countries will display their progress on upgrading the manufacturing sector and integration of industrial and value chains.

Over the past 14 years, the expo has helped China-ASEAN trade. China has expanded its export of electronic products, construction materials, power equipment and construction machines, as well as technology in new energy, high-speed trains and agriculture to ASEAN member states. The bloc’s food, daily goods and bulk commodities are favoured by Chinese buyers.

China and ASEAN have had a long established, friendly relationship since a dialogue mechanism was established in 1991. Two sides have witnessed increased benefits in an array of areas.

In 2017, China-ASEAN trade volume reached USD514.8 billion with a year-on-year increase of 13.8 per cent. China exported USD279.1 billion worth of goods to ASEAN, up nine per cent year-on-year, and imported goods worth USD235.7 billion, an increase of 20 per cent on an annual basis.